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Called to Be Dispensers of Grace

          The transaction of gracing others works like this: a short-fused neighbor curses us because our cat doesn’t recognize property lines. Instead of firing back at her, we retaliate with grace, that is, we respond with an attitude we have received from God. We respond with “unmerited favor.” We have the qualities of patience and kindness on hand because we have received them from Christ. We choose to dispense God’s grace. To our neighbor’s outburst, we reply, “You have every right to be upset.”

          If we’re serious about being Christians, we will always have an abundant supply of grace in our hearts. We draw daily on heaven’s limitless supply. As we dispense grace in hard situations, our awareness of where grace is needed and our capacity for dispensing it increase. This is called “growing in grace.”

          It’s one thing to have a good supply of grace on hand. It’s another thing to be led by the Holy Spirit to dispense it at the right time and in the right place. The tire store may have exactly the brand and size of tires I need, but I’ll never be able to get the manager to sell me those tires unless his attitude favors making a sale to me. In this situation two graces are at work: his product and his attitude. God has many good products for us to have. Yet these gifts will never reach us unless He manifests a deep concern for us. God’s grace consists of both His merciful attitude toward us and the transaction He initiates that brings a grace to us, a grace we need or a grace we place in our hearts for future use. What is that future use? It may be loving our enemies as God loves them. It may be forgiving the offence of someone as God forgives them.

          We should be very conscious of the hideous inconsistency that occurs when a Christian whom God has forgiven for a certain wrong holds a grudge against a neighbor whom God has forgiven for the same offense. If God has forgiven the neighbor freely, why shouldn’t the Christian follow God’s example?