To those of us who are Christians, grace is truly an amazing thing. It is the favor that God gives us, apart from anything we do, that allows us to experience fellowship with the God who created us. Despite the fact that we are sinful creatures, utterly and completely depraved and devoid of any goodness whatsoever, Christ reaches down into the miry clay-filled pit, the pit wherein we would otherwise prefer to wallow, and pulls us out, cleans us up, and places us at the right hand of fellowship with the Father. Despite the fact that we didn’t do anything at all to get it, He goes ahead and gives it to us anyway. Grace is, after all, the ultimate manifestation of Christ as the bridegroom, and us, the church, as His bride.
The difference, of course, between this and marriages between humans, which are supposed to be a type of the relationship between Christ and His church, is that God’s grace is, of course, quite one-sided. After all, Christ is hardly in need of any grace from the likes of us, now is he?
However, here on earth, from the most remote Third World village to the swankiest gated neighborhood, from newlyweds on their honeymoon to 80 year-olds still holding hands, marriages everywhere could use more of what Christ has given us as individuals… Every husband and every wife could use more, from each other, of that wonderful, magical gift from God called grace.
When she forgets that he hates chili and makes it for dinner… When his round of golf runs a bit later than expected… When her iron leaves a black mark on his favorite shirt… When he takes the ‘scenic route’ and gets the family lost, again…
All the crazy ups and downs of two lives spent together, the foibles that make us human, the eccentricities that make us unique, the things that can drive our spouse quite literally up the wall, the things that make a marriage tough… all could use a heaping helping of grace.
Grace is the glue the holds marriages together, the oil that keeps them running smoothly.
Grace is loving the (at times) unlovable. Grace is showing mercy to the guilty. Grace is befriending the unfriendly. Grace is forgiving those who don’t deserve it.
And haven’t we all been unlovable, guilty, unfriendly, and undeserving from time to time?
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32
Grace is a little bit of heaven, right here on planet earth. Christians, because we have experienced grace in its purest form, should be the ones best at giving it, and yet the Christian divorce rate belies that fact. Before we have anything of consequence to say to the outside world, we need to get our house in order, to practice what we preach. It all starts with grace.
To those who are hurting, to those whose marriages, for any one of a billion possible reasons, are teetering on the edge, hanging on by the very thinnest of threads, don’t give up. Instead, let’s the power of grace not only transform your soul, but your marriage as well.
Grace is something we have the power to give, but not to force from others. So give it, consistently, purposefully, with no strings attached, and you will likely receive it in return. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month…
Maybe not ever…
But, ultimately, the only person we can change is ourselves, and the best shot we have at making any relationship with another human being work is to choose to exercise that most sage of Jesus’s earthly teachings, the Golden Rule… to choose grace…
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” ~ Matthew 7:12
This post originally appeared on ABiblicalMarriage.com.