When he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad… —Acts 11:23
Barnabas saw something at Antioch that made him glad. What did he see? He saw “the grace of God” in the lives of people who recently turned to the Lord! When a person experiences the grace of God that brings salvation, it will be observable in their life (see Titus 2:11-12).
I “see” the grace of God every time I attend our church. I “see” the grace of God in a mother who was recently in bondage to drugs, but now disciples others for the Lord Jesus Christ. I “see” the grace of God in the life of a young man who lived like a wild animal, but now is a manager of successful a business in our city. I “see” the grace of God in a man who was controlled by an angry and violent spirit, but now is one of the kindest gentlemen you could ever know. I “see” the grace of God in women who once had an abortion, but now live in forgiveness. I “see” the grace of God in the lives of people who were blinded by heretical doctrines but now walk in the truth of the gospel. I “see” the grace of God every time I look in the mirror.
As one song says:
I see grace, in every life, on every face.
On the faithful who gather each week in this place.
I see grace.
What do you “see” when you come to church. I hope you see “the grace of God” in the lives of those who attend. It will make you glad, like Barnabas. Do people “see” God’s grace in YOU?
A Good Policy
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. —James 1:19
I recently read about a a wise policy of President Harry Truman. He would have any letters written in anger sit on his desk for 24 hours before being mailed. After he “cooled off” if he still felt the same way, he would then send the letter. At the end of Truman’s life he had a large desk drawer filled with unmailed letters.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” It is always a good policy to practice restraint when we are emotionally upset. I hate to think of the times I spoke too quickly when I was angry. We say things we regret later. We need to take our tongue, or keyboard, “out of gear” and “be swift to hear, SLOW to speak, [and] slow to wrath.” That would save us from many of embarrassments.
The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. —James 3:18
Chain Reaction of Unforgiveness
Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. —Ephesians 4:32
Have you ever been the brunt of someone’s verbal barrage. It may help you to understand that it may have nothing to do about you, but some unrelated problems in that angry person’s life. You may just happen to be the nearest available “punching bag” whereby they can vent their frustrations. They are hurting in one spot, but grunting in other.
For example, a husband gets chewed out by his boss at work. When he gets home, he yells at his wife. Then his wife takes it out on the kids. One of the kids goes out and kicks the cat. The cat runs off into the woods to find a rat to bite. The moral of the story is: If the husband would have forgiven his boss, the rat would not have to worry about getting bitten by the cat.
The best cure for past hurts and offenses is to forgive the one who has hurt you. Forgiveness will stop the chain reaction of pain.
When someone treats you wrongly, look beyond their mistreatment of you and try to find the reason. Ask yourself, “Why is this person acting like this? Have they been offended themselves? Has someone hurt them to make them lash out at me?” The truth is, hurting people often hurt others. To stop hurt, engage the heart, and forgive the offender.