Forgiveness, God, Grace, Grace: Grace Lived Out, Uncategorized

Grace: Living Out Grace

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By Jeanne Takenaka

I’ve been thinking about grace and what it means to live with grace. When people say, “I gave grace in that situation.” Or, “You are a gracious person.” What does it really mean, this word—grace?

I’m trying to put into words how we live out grace as people who believe in Jesus. Grace and favor share similar meanings. When we “give grace and mercy,” we are offering favor. Sometimes the decision to offer favor comes after an offense inflicted.

One of the most memorable times when a person extended grace to me happened a number of years ago.

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Every now and then, my mouth gets me in trouble. I hadn’t meant for it to happen, but words about a friend slipped from my mouth. Words that sounded suspiciously like gossip. It was just between me and one other friend. I knew I could stop and keep it between us. After all, the words shared “in confidence” weren’t that bad.

But God . . . 

He called me to a higher standard. Days passed after the incidences. Yes, that is plural. Oh, how I hate that my mouth can speak unkind things with so little reservation. The more I tried to bury my little word-fest in the back of my mind, the more God’s conviction pricked my heart.

Finally I could take it no longer. Condemnation burned hot within me, bowing my head in embarrassment every time I saw this friend.

The flaring heat in my heart prompted me to ask her if we could talk.

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I could barely look her in the eye as I confessed my sin and asked her forgiveness. She could have easily said she never wanted to see me again. Having the Spirit looking over your shoulder as you put into words the secrets in your heart is ever so mortifying.

I couldn’t sugar-coat it because He was there.

I waited as she gazed at me. My eyes flicked toward hers, and then away. Condemnation dug in then. Knowing I totally deserved anything she dealt my way.

“I forgive you.”

Had I heard her correctly? For a moment, I felt even worse. But I didn’t deserve her forgiveness. The hurt my confession must have evoked . . .

She forgave it?

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Better than that, this friend did not forgive and then distance herself. Rather, she continued to extend her friendship to me, the undeserving. She trusted me with her secrets as if our friendship had never had this hiccup.

This is grace. Loving after being hurt. My friend showed me favor I soooo did not deserve.

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When I think about Jesus and the grace He offers us, I’m humbled to the core of who I am. His taking my place on the cross, dying so I could live and come into a relationship with Him amazes me. And He didn’t do it out of a sense of obligation, or pride, or with condescension toward humankind.

He chose this.

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Out of pure, passionate love. He wants us to know His love, His favor . . . His grace. And to live it out. Loving others the way He’s loved us.

I’ve come a long way in guarding my tongue since that event. But I’ll never forget the forgiveness and the grace my friend gifted me with when she had every right to turn her back on me, or worse gossip about me in return.

What about you? How do you define “living out grace?” When have you offered someone grace? What did it look like when  someone offered you grace?

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24 thoughts on “Grace: Living Out Grace”

  1. That must have been hard to write. Jeanne, you’ve very brave.

    The grace I feel today is the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, past the point where I think I can’t. Life has narrowed in the past couple of weeks to a ferocious and bloody singularity, and the grace comes in living through this moment to the next. I’m sorry it’s not a better example, but it’s all I have.

    Well, not all. I have the support and care of a large number of dogs. When the pain gets too bad and I pass out, they know to keep me still, and – yes- elevate my legs. If there’s a real danger of exsanguination, they keep me conscious, and make sure that I can stay alert to run an IV on myself if needed. Sylvia the Pit Bull knows where the field-expedient IV stuff is, and she has opened the drawer, stood by it, and barked. Who taught her? Not i. It was God. It was Grace.

    The grace I can give is related to this – instead of hearing others’ complaints and saying “wanna trade?” I am trying to hold to the truth that we all experience life from a specific perspective, and it’s unfair to try to put my perspective on anyone else.

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    1. Andrew, I’ve been praying for you. Now I know how to pray more specifically. God has these marvelous ways of showing us grace. I love how He’s given you dogs to reveal His grace and love for you.

      You’re right—we all see life from our perspective. When we can look to God and ask for His filter on it, it’s easier to see His grace woven through our days and moments. Thanks for your comment. You always broaden my perspective. Praying extra today.

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  2. Recently discouragement with my work began nibbling around the edges of my spirit, and I began to wonder if it’s worth It? Is It doing anything? Then along comes God with a specific word of encouragement, or a special Scripture, or a “co-incidence” that shows God smiling at me. That’s His grace to me.

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    1. God DOES have a way of sharing His grace and encouragement to us through His words, doesn’t He? I’m so glad He’s encouraging you, Mom. “Coincidence? I think not.” 😉

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  3. I’ve been thinking about this all day.

    Jeanne, you are a brave and transparent person!

    Many times I’ve been shown grace, and many times I’ve been asked to show grace…and I debate whether or not to let the person sweat a bit. Which is SOMEWHAT not what Jesus would do!! Thankfully, God does not stew like we do.

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  4. What a beautiful post today. It’s humbling when somebody forgives me. What a beautiful friend you have to not only forgive but continue as if nothing happened. That’s true beauty!

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  5. Jeanne, thank you for these beautiful words and honest confessions. You are not alone in this story, friend. All of us need grace with our words and relationships. This line packs such truth: “This is grace. Loving after being hurt. ” What a thoughtful definition. Thanks again for sharing! #gracelinkup

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    1. Thank you, Karen. It’s always humbling to put my shortcomings out there, but it’s truly one of the greatest examples of grace (I soooo did not deserve) I could think of. 🙂 We do need grace with our words and our relationships. We all make mistakes. When the other person offers grace afterwards . . . that is a true gift.

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  6. what an encouragement to come clean, and the best part, you love God enough to make things right, being obedient to Him makes you trustworthy to others. great example kudos to you

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  7. Teresa, you’re right. I love how God honors our obedience, even when it’s confessing sin to another. He honors this in His ways. I like how you said it makes us trustworthy to others. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  8. What a powerful testimony. Could totally relate to so many aspects of your story! Thank you for opening up and showing us what grace and forgiveness looks like in real life .. Blessings to you!

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  9. I am on a daily journey of learning about biting my tongue especially with my teenagers. I need to trust in him more instead of micromanaging the situation.

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    1. Oh, what good words for one who’s just behind you with tweens: Learn to trust God instead of micromanage the situation. It’s harder to hold my tongue with people who share four walls with me than those who live outside them. I’m in daily prayer on that matter. Thanks for stopping by, Sara!

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    1. I think you’re right, Debbie. Accepting another’s grace when I’ve fallen short is humbling. I guess that means that I’m still working through some pride in my life, huh? I’m so glad you stopped by!

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