I believe that you and I have been invited to sit at a spiritual table where a bountiful feast of GRACE has been served. Sitting there at the table are those who are begging us to "Please pass the grace," but we are too busy ignoring them as we gorge on the grace given us right in front of them.
I really don't mean to be preachy, but frankly, I'm tired of some Christians acting like only a few of us were "called" to be kind to those who might need a little extra grace from time to time. In that moment, I guess I should realize that the person who thinks this way actually needs extra grace from me. Some people do have their sins plastered where everyone can see them, but that doesn't make them any more unworthy of Jesus' blood than you or me. In fact, my Bible tells me that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23 NIV)
I believe God's plan for His church is to be like a family sitting around the table enjoying His blessings and sharing His blessings with others. We are called the body of Christ for a reason. If one member of our body hurts, we cannot ignore it. An infection will eventually set in. Yes, some parts of our body can make us feel uncomfortable...just like some members of our family. However, that does not mean we are not expected to love and to support them in their walk with Christ. Perhaps, they have been put in your particular path to help you to grow up a little bit spiritually. Maybe God is challenging you to put on your big girl pants or big boy britches and choose to love outside your comfort zone...just like Jesus did.
Do you really think Jesus grew up hanging out with the outcasts whom He chose to serve? How often do you think prostitutes or cheating tax collectors were invited over for dinner at Mary and Joseph's house? Honestly, how many sinful people were hanging around in heaven before He chose to come to earth as a human?
So if Jesus has shown us that kingdom love looks like being kind and giving GRACE to those with their sins for all to see, perhaps I should do that too....you know, if I want to be considered one of His disciples. It is time for us to stop expecting people to get their lives together before they come to Jesus, because He never expected that in the New Testament. Jesus gave grace first. Then He would admonish them to stop sinning. The grace always came first!
I want the world and Jesus, for the record, to recognize me as His disciple.
Jesus said in John 13:34-35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
So when you encounter that person who rubs you the wrong way or just tries your patience, I want to encourage you to be kind. Choose to remember the abundance of grace, love, and forgiveness you have already been given. Then, I beg of you, "Would you please pass the grace?"
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)