While the purpose of this blog is grace—not politics, religion, or even social justice—that doesn’t mean I consider them unimportant topics. Much has already been said about the recent tragedies and overall conflicts in our nation, and I certainly don’t want to oversimplify these complex issues.
Yet, despite the turbulence in the world and America, all is not lost. God’s love for us never wavers. He is constant, and His grace is needed in every area of our lives. I believe when we lead with love and grace, we can be used as instruments of healing and change.
God continues to work His good into the course of our nation. We don’t always see what He is doing, but He has not given up on us! He is the Father of compassion; Jesus showed us that compassion is love in action. When God sees a need, He steps in to help. As in: “I care enough to do something about this problem.” If we love God, we should do the same.
Still, we can only love others and extend grace to the level we have experienced them. If we don’t understand just how much God loves us, then we can’t pass it on. If we have not acknowledged our own need for a deep level of grace, we cannot show that grace to others.
Love, grace—even peace and hope—become more powerful when they are extended to others. So, it is within the context of community that change comes.
I love this quote:
“If we’re singing the same songs together, then we can’t yell at each other.”—Matt Maher, singer and songwriter
When we focus on what brings us together, we are not focused on division. Find commonalities with other people, not matter how different they appear. You’ll likely be surprised at how similar you are!
Part of how we love God is how we treat people. He has given each of us a measure of grace—and gifts—to be shared on His behalf. They are not meant to be kept for ourselves. Whatever your gifts, show God’s grace and love to a broken world.
Of note, when it comes to grace, we don’t get to decide who deserves it—it is undeserved. God is the ultimate Judge, so we can let go of the need to be ‘right.’ Instead, we can be courteous, kind, respectful, helpful…and quick to forgive. We don’t have to agree in order to show love. We don’t have to fully understand an issue to be gracious.
God’s grace does not discriminate.
Compassion—love in action—can take on many forms. It may be inviting a new friend over to your house. Try listening to someone talk about a personal struggle. Smile. Pray for someone. Plant an extra row in your garden to give away. Indeed, seek justice or stand up for a cause. Learn about different cultures. Hold a door open for someone. Babysit someone else’s kids. Let someone else have the better parking spot! Try volunteering at your local school, church, soup kitchen, sports club, or other community.
When you see a need, don’t wait to be asked. Don’t assume someone else will do it.
Romans 12 is full of practical exhortations to sheds God light, love, and grace in these dark days. Specifically, there are some great points on compassion and community starting in verse 9:
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Be creative in sharing Jesus with this broken world. Encourage others. Smile. Spread joy. Start a meaningful conversation. Practice compassion within your own communities first. Start with your own heart, household, neighborhood, and workplace. Then expand your influence and impact more people with love and grace!
Father God, You are good. Thank You for love, grace, and peace. Please bring Your comfort and healing to our world. Show us how to love like You have loved us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: How can you expand your community? What is something you can do to love others today?