Explain “mercy” and “grace”…
If I’m driving 50 mph in front of your local elementary school, and a cop pulls me over. I ask the cop, “Please
give me mercy.” If they gave me mercy, they would not give me the speeding ticket.
Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve.
If I’m driving 50 mph in front of local elementary school, and a cop pulls me over. I ask the cop, “Please show me
grace.” If they showed me grace, they would not give me the speeding ticket, but they also might give me an ice
Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve.
If there was an imaginary line in life that we called the “wholeness” line, where we would be if we were living our lives perfectly, I know through my personal experience that I am often not at that line. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I was born with a shovel… I often dig holes myself!
The act of mercy, is the idea that that hole if ﬁlled up. It makes sense to tie it into the idea of forgiveness. God’s
forgiveness restores us and makes us whole again!
Grace however, is a totally different concept! Not only does God ﬁll up the holes in our lives, God heaps goodness on us to make us even more than whole! A God of grace is one of the things I love about Christianity, and as
United Methodists, we believe that God heaps this grace on everyone (yes, even middle schoolers)!
Last month, I came upon a harsh realization: I love that God is graceful, but I don’t practice grace myself.
I’m pretty good at the mercy/forgiveness bit. When someone makes a mistake, I try my hardest to forgive
and to restore that person. I don’t, however, heap goodness on them; I don’t practice grace. Two weeks ago, after explaining mercy and grace, I challenged our youth. The challenge was: whenever they found themselves with a hole in their wholeness line caused by someone else, to try to practice grace. To not only restore, but to make more.
1. Give someone who caused you harm, who doesn’t deserve it, something like a fun sized candy bar
2. Tell me the story
3. I will reimburse them for their candy bar
I asked the youth to give the item without explanation. If the recipient asks why, I told them to just say, “my youth
leader told me to”. If the person asks why again, then they can explain the whole thing.
It is my hope that as a Christian I can practice more grace! Please join me, I would love to hear your stories of
*although biblically grace was taken to the point of Jesus dying for us, I cannot advocate it if the situation is abusive. Please seek help if that is the case*