In my life I have found some things are not as simple as they seem. The verse in the Bible that says, "Let your speech be alway with GRACE, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
Grace is defined as: 1. Elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. 2. A pleasing or attractive quality. 3. Favor or good will. 4. A manifestation of favor, especially by a superior. 5. Mercy, clemency, pardon.
This was only the first 5 definitions but you get the point. Our speech...what we say to one another. How we speak to our friends, family, strangers, enemies, students we may teach, children, elderly, EVERY MAN...our words should be seasoned with grace, everything we say.
Do we have grace for those we come in contact with? What of the fallen? What of the girl who is loose with her standards? Do our words portray to her that we favour her, we have forgiven her, does she feel she has any reason to even try again? Will she find grace and pardon in our words or condemnation and no hope.
Grace. Some have called it "unmerited favor"...for we do nothing to deserve it. If we've done nothing to deserve it...in simple logic then, we can't do anything to NOT deserve it...it is after all Grace.
When we look at others because of what we have heard or seen...and do not offer grace to them...we are a stumbling block to them. Our Lord has left us here to love people, unconditionally, and to offer them grace. When the woman taken in adultery was brought before Jesus, he said, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more." He didn't have to teach her what was wrong...she knew. We do not have to sit down with the fallen and point out all of their mistakes and flaws...they already know. We need to offer grace and unconditional love. No matter how well you know someone, you may not understand everything.
Here in Belize, there is a lot of teenage pregnancy. One of the first questions asked the girls when they come in is, "Have you been sold?" What would make a mother so desperate that she would SELL HER DAUGHTER!!?? I don't fully know, but I suspicion that she was sold, and therefore believes it to be ok. Who will offer that mother grace for her guilt? Who will offer the daughter grace...who will love them as Christ would if He were still on earth?
If incest occurs, the mother is left penniless with many children to raise. Many times she will stay with the abuser because he is the breadwinner. If she were to turn him into the authorities, their family name would be ruined. So it is kept quiet, brushed under the rug.
Girls are forced into relationships at an early age. Some as young as 11 and 12. Their purity lost. Their view of love forever tainted by guilt. I would like to believe that this forcing is only happening in third world countries, but I am not naive. This happens in America too.
Who will offer grace? Who will have the right words to say that are seasoned with salt and grace? Salt is for cleansing and preserving...there is no condemnation in this verse...only grace and unconditional love. Who will know how they "ought to answer every man"? Do you know how to offer grace to the wounded...or do you remain silent for fear of saying the wrong thing? If so...the wounded walk right out the doors with the same pain and guilt they came with. We all need to learn how to love them, to accept them, to offer them grace without condemnation...may we learn to love how God loves.