“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16-17 ESV)
Each day we sow something; and we will reap what we sow. Some of our reaping will take place now and some, in eternity. On account of the mercy and grace of God, we are shielded from a great many of the harmful consequences of our thoughtless sowing. But, if anyone persistently sows evil, some of the seeds will find suitable soil to flourish and bear bitter fruit.
It is, therefore, vital, that we learn to sow goodness, faithfulness and grace, as much and as often as we can; for these too will find fertile ground, and bear a harvest of souls, and also bring the rewards of righteousness and peace in our own lives.
Let us consider ways how we can do this. Think of someone who unwittingly did something that caused you pain, and another who deliberately wronged you. Perhaps you know someone who took you for granted, and doesn’t deserve your friendship or forbearance.
Now keep your thinking cap on, and consider whether you have ever treated the Lord in this way – done wrong, disobeyed Him, forgotten His kindness and taken Him for granted. If you have – and all of us stumble in these matters – then how would you like the Lord to deal with you for these faults? Would you prefer He came to you in love and a gentle spirit, as Paul put it, or in anger, with wrath and retribution? If you prefer the former, as I am sure you do, then the secret to reaping more of His mercy is to show mercy to those in need. And when are we most in need of mercy, except in the hour when we have failed?
This is not to say, that we should never correct others – indeed, I suspect that Christians these days are rather too hesitant about pointing out to a brother or sister, their wrongdoing and the negative consequences of their sinful actions. We tend to ignore the Biblical instruction – to help restore a brother who has fallen into sin, in gentleness and meekness, and sometimes with firmness – for the fear of causing offence.
The problem with us is that unless someone’s sin directly affects us, we are inclined to look the other way and avoid confrontation. If we are hurt by what someone has done – it is at this point that most of us will respond, and often get it very wrong. Our reactions may take many forms – we may choose to turn a cold shoulder, freeze them out, or else, react in anger. Such reactions are ungodly, not because we have surrendered to our ‘baser natures’, but mainly because we have chosen to withdraw love from the wrongdoer. Our goal becomes personal vindication rather than restoration of the sinner, and restoration of the relationship.
Our prime concern when we see a brother or sister stumbling should be their standing before God, and their eternal destiny. Much prayer is essential, for we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to do those things that will bring about the desired change in them and in us.
To be continued…
Father, thank You for Your grace poured daily in our lives. Teach us how to share this grace with all those around us. Help us to practise the sowing of grace, in our words and actions each day, so that the lives of people around us may be transformed.