Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 9:36:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

Like ocean waves on rocks along the beach, the following truth has been working on me for a while now:

"I can only extend grace to others to the extent that I extend grace to myself. But, I can only extend grace to myself to the extent that I understand and receive God's incredible grace extended to me."

As this truth has slowly hit home, I have come to realize that for most of my life I've lived with a kind of self-imposed bondage to performance - that is, a bondage to pleasing God and others. Because of this, I didn't do a good job of extending grace to others, especially my wife, Kaylinn. Fortunately, when God leads us into new insights, it's never too late to change. As I've gradually grown in my ability to accept God's grace and to walk in more  freedom, I've felt much freer to extend grace to Kaylinn. This, in turn, has significantly enhanced our relationship.

Our view of God determines our ability to extend grace to ourselves and to others. In my previous blog post, I described two polar views. Here's one view:

 "God is not for us. He is aloof and, while Jesus gives us access to God, we must continue to work for a lifetime to maintain any sense of intimacy and connection. We are sinners saved by grace. Our relationship with God is enhanced by self-effort."

The alternate view is:
"God is good all of the time. He loves us unconditionally and has our best interests in mind. His plans for us are awesome and glorious. We were completely forgiven at the cross and, because of this, we are 100% righteous. We are saints who occasionally sin. He constantly extends grace to us."

Walking in freedom requires a clear understanding that God loves us and accepts us just as we are with no pressures to become someone different. God wants us to respond to His incredible love, instead of responding out of duty.

While writing this blog post, I had a phone interaction that drove home the point of extending grace. A local vendor made a mistake in supplying a product for my use. It has taken many phone calls over a series of weeks to find a solution. Typically, these types of interactions quickly lead me to a point of frustration. In this case, however, I've worked hard to extend grace and not give into frustration. As I extended grace, this person shared a very personal struggle he's currently facing and, though we have not met in person, he allowed me to pray with him over the phone. This would never have happened if I'd succumbed to my previous style, expressing my frustration and not extending grace.

Here's a key question to ask yourself: on a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing in extending grace to yourself and others? Though most of us would say we hold the second of the above views (i.e., that of a loving God), you may find, as I have, that often your actions have actually been shaped by the first view, which requires self-effort to sustain an ongoing relationship with God.

Ireally needed this today...Just found your sight. We are now in a church which practices GRACE. So very thankful....but my upbringing taught me just the opposite. Doug, I was in a class that you taught on Purpose, goals, vision etc....and what I came up with years ago of what God wanted, is the Mission Statement of the Church we are now in.....go figure. I think of you all and pray and Thank God for you and your testimony in the community and in my life....It just keeps on giving....Like our Heavenly Father. Maryville, Tn. 37803
Jone K. Trost @ 12:40:00 PM 11/5/2013
Thanks Doug you are the best...
Brenda Dowdin @ 6:00:00 PM 11/5/2013

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