by Lori Hatcher
I was overwhelmed. Homeschooling my two daughters, serving in a leadership position in our church’s women’s ministry, and juggling a part time job, I struggled to get it all done. But I loved to please, which is why, when a friend asked me to take on a special project, I said, “Yes.”
A week later, when she asked me if I’d completed it, I said, “Yes.”
Except I hadn’t.
Shame over my inefficiency and fear of what she might think of me squeezed me into a corner. The lie had escaped my lips before I realized it.
Now I’d failed twice—first by not doing what I’d promised and second by lying about it. Imagine what a field day Satan and my conscience had with those two sins.
After a miserable day of Holy Spirit conviction and self-condemnation, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I called my friend and confessed. Her grace-filled words brought tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I understand. We all take on more than we can handle sometimes. Why don’t we work on the project together?”
Ephesians 4:29 encourages us:
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”Ephesians 4:29, NKJV
My friend certainly imparted grace to me that day. She modeled Christ and demonstrated the power of Spirit-inspired words “For the law was given through Moses,” John 1:17 says, “but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” That day, grace and truth also came through my friend Lisa.
If you’d like to practice Christ-like speech, here are five phrases you can borrow from the language of grace.
I forgive you.
We are most Christ-like when we extend grace freely and unconditionally. When we let go of grudges and trust God to right wrongs and administer justice. When we surrender our desire to punish the offender. When we remember how lost we were and how much we needed to be forgiven.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”Ephesians 1:7, NKJV
Scripture tells us Christ, who was fully God yet fully man, wasn’t above the struggles of humanity. He was tempted as we are. When we extend grace to others by identifying with their struggles, we model Christ to them. We don’t excuse their behavior. Instead, we acknowledge the battle and walk alongside them as fellow soldiers.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).John 1:14, NKJV
You don’t have to act this way.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to sin. Sometimes the most grace-filled thing we can do for another is to challenge them to live godly lives instead of settling for half-hearted efforts or lukewarm attempts. Encouraging others to honor God in their words, actions, and service can empower and inspire if we do it in love.
As ambassadors for Christ, we can remind fellow believers, as Romans 6:14 so powerfully states, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
Today’s a new day.
When we fall short of our own or someone else’s expectations, it’s easy to slap a FAILURE label on our foreheads and give up. Grace reminds us God’s mercies are new every morning. Every day is a new beginning. Even our weakness is an opportunity for God’s strength to manifest itself in us.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV
Let’s do it together.
Life is often overwhelming. Some days, the Christian life seems even more so. Perhaps this is why Jesus sent out his disciples two by two. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 describes this: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, gor he has no one to help him up.”
When we come alongside another sister or brother in Christ and work together, we can operate in a strength we don’t have on our own. Differing gifts and abilities complement each other. Varying perspectives and insights provide collective wisdom. The body of Christ works together to glorify the Father and accomplish His work in the world. Best of all, we grow in courage, faith, and love by serving together.
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”1 Peter 4:10, NKJV
The Last Word
Many in our world are quick to condemn, criticize, and judge, but believers answer to a higher calling. “Let your speech always be with grace,” Colossians 4:6 encourages us, “seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer.”
The five sentences I’ve listed above are only the beginning. As we invite the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts to be more like Jesus’, our vocabulary will expand. So will our love for one another. With God’s empowering, we’ll become more and more fluent in the language of grace.
Lori Hatcher is a pastor’s wife who lives delightfully close to her four grandchildren in Lexington, South Carolina. She’s the author of several devotional books including Refresh Your Faith – Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publishing) and Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women , (2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year). The editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, she’s also a blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on: