There But For The Grace of God, Go I
I grew up with this saying. So when I do utter it's words and the person hearing them for the first time looks at me like I have three heads, I'm as baffled as they are. Have you heard it before? If not, here's what I mean when I say it...If it weren't for God's grace I'd be walking in that person's shoes right now. I could very easily be that person that is __________ (fill in the blank with absolutely anything).
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect...--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10
We forget so easily that we've walked in those same shoes
We are quick to judge others that are different than we are. People living through different circumstances. People who could very easily be us. We've all been there. We've all looked upon others and judged them. Maybe even thinking thoughts like...you could've prevented this if you would've_________ or chose not to_________. Instead of us choosing to see them as Christ does we allow ourselves to judge and punish them for yes, bad choices, bad decisions and situations they had no control over. We forget so easily that we've walked in those same shoes having made a bad choice or a bad decision or found ourselves in a situation we had no control over. But for the grace of God, there go I. (yeah, that's how I grew up with it being said...a little off, but the same meaning. I've learned over the years that some of the sayings I grew up with were off a little.) eh, such is life :)
So what's a Christ follower to do when faced with the temptation to judge a person for their situation?
Stop! Stop and think for a minute. Pray.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3
Ask God to help you see this person through His eyes.
For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? 1 Corinthians 4:7
Pray for that person.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 4:1
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
Just be nice to them.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
And possibly the hardest of all would be to reach out to them.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:32-35
Have you heard the Country Song that talks about how lost they'd be, but for the Grace of God? Even those that may not be Christ followers, yet they know that if it weren't for God they'd be walking in the same shoes of someone else.
Aren't you glad we aren't defined by our circumstances? Defined by our situations? Aren't you glad we aren't defined by our sins? By that bad choice or decision we made only a few minutes ago? If you're a Christ follower you are a new creation. You have a new name.
I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it. Revelation 2:17