When we speak of unconditional grace, one of the first objections is how it is unbelievably unfair. We begin thinking of all the people who couldn't possibly be recipients of the same grace we, ourselves have received.
It's somewhat of a simple concept, but I have to constantly remind myself that grace is indeed unmerited... I did absolutely nothing to receive it and there is nothing I could ever do to deserve it.
I can only accept it... And sometimes, that is the hard part.
I have to remind myself of this because sometimes I'm a little greedy with the grace that has been given to me. I like to hold on to it, guard it, act as if I've done something to obtain it.
Jesus tells several stories about what happens to people when they aren't generous with what they've been given.
In one story, a man dies because he builds buildings in which to hoard his extra belongings rather than sharing with his neighbors as they are dying in poverty.
Jesus tells another story of a man who ends up in hell because he refused to deliver a poor beggar from the hell in which he was already living.
And still, in another story we hear about "goats" who were condemned because they did not care for the less fortunate... all the while, the "sheep" were declared righteous for caring for "the least of these."
To follow Jesus means to be generous, and while we are obviously commanded to be generous with the physical possessions we have been given... we are also to be generous with the love, grace, and forgiveness we have been given.
Of course, this is not easy at times, but I sometimes find that the hardest part, what keeps us from extending grace to others, is that we either think we did something to deserve it, or we do not truly believe that we have it to begin with.
We are constantly being told that there is something that must be done in order to receive God's grace. We must believe something... Do something... Say something... Confess something... Abstain from something... or Invite a specific someone to live in our cardiovascular organ before God is allowed to act in our lives.
However, the scriptures do not tell us that God loves us because we first loved God, as is often portrayed to us. Instead, We are told just the opposite.
We love because God loved us first...
We forgive because God forgave us...
We show grace because God has shown us grace...
You are accepted.
You are loved.
You are forgiven.
You have been shown grace.
Now go and do likewise.
Go accept others... Go love others... Go forgive others... And go share with others the grace that you have been given.