Last week I had several opportunities to show grace. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pleased with the way I handled one situation in particular. Instead of getting angry at someone's incompetence, I said, “I understand how that could have happened. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes,” and I left it at that.
According to my own grading scale, I deserved a high score. Not perfect, but close. Lurking in the back of my mind (I hate to admit) was the thought that maybe by being gracious I could expect to be treated that way at some future date.
The following Sunday morning, as our congregation was singing “Amazing Grace,” the audacity of my attitude hit me like the clang of a cymbal. When we came to the words, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me,” it was as if God was saying to me, “What in the world were you thinking, Julie?! The grace you show to others is not your own. The only reason you can ‘give’ grace to anyone is because I have given it to you. You can pass along only that which you have received from me.”
Humbled, I realized that I am simply a steward of God’s grace and goodness. I don’t manufacture it and benevolently distribute it according to my determination of who should have it. As a good steward of God's grace, I simply look for opportunities to pass along to others what I have received from the Lord: “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
(adapted from A Steward of Grace)