Over the past few weeks, I have explained that grace makes us free–free from sin and free to be free. In this emancipated state, we are at liberty to free others as well. Chuck Swindoll refers to this as horizontal grace – the grace that we extend to those around us (139).
When we live in bondage to sin, we have no choice but to compare our own accomplishments, accolades, and activities to those of others. We often despise the success of others because we do not measure up in our own eyes. We see those around us as having more successful jobs, higher grades, healthier bodies, and more spirituality. In light of these prominent lives, we begin competing and criticizing (Swindoll 142). We want everyone to be at or below our own level so that we feel more successful. Legalistically, we want everyone to be alike.
It is hard to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) when we are jealous of the rejoicers.
In grace, however, there is no comparison. Because grace is not based on any personal merit, there is no need to measure up in any way. I fear sounding redundant, but in grace, there is freedom. Instead of wanting people to be at or below our own level, we have freedom to…
- Celebrate the success of friends, family, and even strangers.
- Appreciate the differences in others.
- Live peaceably.
- Be hospitable.
- Let God direct lives.
- Let others be themselves.
Swindoll, Charles. The Grace Awakening. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003. Print.