Something I realized about grace one day . .

When I try to “punish” myself by refusing God’s grace, I punish everyone around me.

Here’s a little story to explain what I mean . . . . . . . .

Suppose I live in a time of great famine.  One day, a big ole semi-truck comes right up to my house and parks halfway in my driveway and halfway in the street.  The driver hops out and knocks on my door.

“Hey, are you Teej?” the driver asks.

“Uh . . yes,” I say.

“I’ve got a flatbed delivery for you.  Truckload of food.  All you have to do is sign here.”

“Sign . . here?” I ask, pulling my hand back when he offers me the pen.

“Yeah.  Right here on the line,” he says.

“I . . can’t do that,” I say.

“Why not?” he asks in surprise.

“Well this . . I mean . . this is too much!  I don’t deserve it!  I mean, you don’t even know me!  I’m not good enough for this.  I haven’t even done anything great today.  In fact, I had a lousy day and most of it was my fault.”

“Well, there’s no requirements,” he explains.  “Just sign here.”

“No way,” I say.  “I can’t.”

“But . . aren’t you hungry?” he asks.

“Starving.”

“And what about your neighbors?  Your friends?  Your family?”

“Yeah, we all are, but I can’t accept this.  Maybe you should deliver it to one of them.”

“But it’s for you.  And you’ll have more than enough to give to everybody you know.  You’ll have enough to offer dinners to total strangers!”

“Well, that’s all fine and good,” I say stiffly.  “But I’m not taking a gift for nothing.”

He looks at me long and hard.  “Ok,” he says finally.  “But if you change your mind, here’s a number you can call.”  He hands me a business card, as if he’s been expecting my reaction might be something like this.  He turns around and heads back to his truck.

I watch him drive away, and all the food goes with him.

. . . . . . . When I try to “punish” myself by refusing God’s grace, I punish everyone around me.

The grace God gives me isn’t just for me.  When I play the self-righteous game of waiting for grace until I “earn” it, I deprive not only myself, but everyone around me.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT)

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