My granddaughters were setting at the table in the middle of the dining area at the hotel we were staying for Thanksgiving holiday eating their breakfast. I was getting me a cup of coffee at the pot on the counter and when I turned to go to the table and my belt loop caught on the handle of a wheelchair of a lady who had obviously had a stroke at another table. I realized what had happened and I apologized and as I was backing out of the situation and the lady commented about herself always being in the way. The look on her husband’s face wasn’t of irritation but of concern for his wife. I went back to the table where my grandchildren were to finish eating breakfast. As we were getting up to leave I felt prompted to talk to the woman again.
I went to their table, and fortunately the husband was carrying on a “side conversation” with another traveler at the next table. I leaned on the table and I said, “Ma’am, my wife of 32 years passed away 9 months ago. She had been disabled for 18 of those years and she always felt like I would be ‘better off’ if she wasn’t there or I was ‘with’ someone else. You are not in the way”. By this time her husband had refocused on his own table and I could see a look of agreement on his face. “Let him take care of you” (pointing at her husband). At that point he reached to hold her hand. I told her husband to lay his left hand on the table. I touched his wedding band and I said, “That ring is attached to his heart. His heart is attached to yours.” At that statement, with great effort, she uncurled her left hand to reveal a golden band and she said, “He had to get me a bigger one last year after my stroke”. I smiled and I said, “He got you a bigger one because you aren’t in the way. Let him take care of you. Let him show you the love of Christ.” She smiled through tears and he squeezed her hand. I told them to enjoy the rest of their holiday and I turned to find my grandchildren standing patiently waiting and, if I am not mistaken, there was a hint of a smile on both of their faces.
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say:
“ The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Our Lord and savior tells us He will never leave us or forsake us because “we are not in the way”. God’s love for us is so huge that we cannot wrap our minds around it. How can God love us? Because God CHOOSES to love us unconditionally. When we seek the face of God and we repent (change directions) into the love and will of God He takes our sins and drops them into the sea of forgetfulness. God doesn’t “FORGET” anything, BUT when you accept God’s grace again He CHOOSES to limit Himself by wiping those sins from the books as if they never happened. People want to know “how God’s grace works”, especially men because hey that is the way we are wired.
So, how does God’s grace work? Let’s look at the “Lord’s prayer”
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
In verse 12 the prayer delivered to teach us to pray says, “forgive us our sins, AS we have FORGIVEN those who sin against us”. Notice it doesn’t say if I feel like forgiving those that sin against me. When someone has treated you badly you may have to remind yourself 100 times a day that you have forgiven that person. Don’t misconstrue that comment. Just because you have forgiven a person doesn’t mean you put yourself back into a situation to be ill-treated again, but you MUST forgive just the same. Besides if you carry a grudge towards someone you will wear yourself out. You see a grudge is only valid to the one CARRYING it because the person whom you are holding captive doesn’t even know he or she is being held. You have to make sure that cage is shut, and the door is locked, and every action by the prisoner feeds the grudge to make it harder on you. So, the answer to the “how does grace work” is very simple. If you are a follower and don’t forgive others then all your “stuff” is still on the books.
Like the lady with the stroke we are unable to forgive by our own strength but through the love of God we can forgive the unforgivable. Through the love of God we can love the unlovable. Through the love of God we are saved by grace. Through the love of God He holds up our hands when we are too weak to do it ourselves. God is love. Those that do not love do not have God for God is not in them. God has given us a gift that passes all understanding, the ability to CHOOSE to love when it isn’t part of our nature because we are fallen. We were made in the image of God and that is what makes us have the CHOICE. The church is the bride of Christ and we await our betrothed. We are sitting in our wheelchair unable to do for ourselves. Let the Husband take care of us.