It is very fitting to call grace “unmerited favor” when grace comes from God. Yet, we Christians are also called to dispense grace towards others. We do this by imitating Jesus in how He dispenses grace. But when we give grace to a person and she inquires about our motivation… can we really say that they didn’t deserve it but we gave them love anyway? This sounds very proud and judgmental. The person may take such motivation as pompous and critical. A person’s sins are between them and God unless it impacts us somehow. I have no right to judge anyone as per Jesus’ instructions found in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 7:1-6).
New Definition of Grace
A more positive definition for grace is “unconditional love”. It means that when we do good, we don’t earn any favors by it; when we do bad, we don’t lose any favors by it. And when we are indifferent we are still cared for.
So we don’t need to tell people “that our motivation is because they are bad people in need of God”. Instead, we can say, “we are learning to love them unconditionally the way God loves us.” And that “it is all done through God’s empowering presence poured into our hearts”. This is a far more caring, tolerant, and non-judgmental way for we humans to dispense grace to people.
Between Them and God
So, when we are gracious to others using the “unconditional love” definition of grace: it does seem higher and more worth it to us. And it is non-judgmental to those we are called to love. With this definition for grace, we soar of eagles’ wings. One way we are called to dispense grace is by praying for people. We can’t go into God’s presence and accuse people of wrongs; that is Satan’s business. We have enough sin of our own to confess. Yes, Jesus came to save us from our sins. But that doesn’t mean that we should pray, “Jesus please save so and so from their sins of such and such.” A person’s sins are between them and God. I can’t be pointing out other people’s sins to God when I still have a sin problem of my own. Do I really get to work on other people’s sins before I’ve cleansed myself of sin (see Matthew 7:3-4)? Moreover, as I pray for people to be saved from their sins, I will likely hold those sins against them on some level and they will sense that judgmental energy in me. This is very unhealthy.
How does one pray for others?
First, leave the mechanics of “how to save a person from sin and hell” to God. He knows how, what, and when to do things.
Second, in Numbers 6:24-26 God shares His will and heart for Israel (and ultimately for all people on earth). It is wise to pray it somehow… something like this:
Please bless so and so; And please keep them; Please make your face shine on them; and be gracious towards them; Please turn your face towards them; And grant them peace; Through your Son Jesus.
Thank you and Amen!
For more ideas on how to practice humility and stay away from pride check out my book called: Exploring Humility and Pride in paperback or eBook versions.