Grace in Action
Today we conclude our four-part series on the topic of abortion and how to help those in need. I appreciate how delicately and meticulously Jeff explained that God honors each life as it begins at conception. Also, how Daren & Karla helped us understand the many and varied alternatives to help in this crisis through adoption and increasing women’s support services.
This topic is very close to my heart as I was an unplanned pregnancy. My parents already had two boys and not a lot of money. They thought their family was complete until I came along, forever altering their family planning and dynamic.
I also work every day with women and children. I have been a Women’s Ministry Leader for 27 years. I have heard countless women share in agony over decisions they made to abort children before becoming a Christian. Every one of them felt shame and guilt, even before they ever understood God’s heart on abortion. I believe God puts it in our consciences (Romans 1:20) to help us understand and live our best lives. I have also witnessed the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that this choice brings about in a woman’s life. The only response to them is compassion and reassurance that her child is in the arms of God and, as a Christian, she can get to know him/her one day. This is reality only due to the generous gift of God’s grace.
Isaiah 30:18. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
God’s grace in action to us is the giving of his Son as a sacrifice, so that we might not suffer the eternal consequences of our sin. This is grace! Mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve. The grace of God includes mercy, and yet goes beyond and includes adoption as his children, as co-heirs with Christ.
After Adam ate the fruit and sent humanity hurdling down a path of misery and self-destruction, God put grace in action. He cared for Adam and Eve, and set them on the best path forward in the new world they had ushered in. Throughout the Old Testament you see God’s grace overflow to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. You see the rescue of Israel, Naomi, Ruth, Samuel, David and countless others from dire circumstances.
The backdrop to God’s grace is God’s Law and commands, which are perfect and good… They teach us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Our world today has minimized God’s Word. In particular, we do not hear enough about the destructiveness of sex outside of marriage! Hollywood glamorizes it. Society normalizes it. People have learned to suppress and ignore the consequences. When we give away our bodies without emotional attachment, without commitment, without the hope of a future, it leaves a mark on our soul, and distances us from God. God’s plan is for one woman and one man to be united in marriage for life.
Ultimately, God’s powerful grace brings about the plan of redemption that is available to everyone who responds, through Jesus Christ. A plan that brings about justice and rescues his faithful ones from destruction, leading to eternal life with him.
Acts 11:23. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
When Barnabas arrived in the city of Antioch, he SAW the evidence of the Grace of God in action. People’s lives were transformed; many had become Christians and headed down the path of pleasing God with their lives. Lives had been touched with compassion, love, hope, and the grace of God. Grace is not just a flowy, nice thought – it is rooted in action – where evidence can be found.
What makes God’s grace so wonderful is that it touches me not just for eternity, but each day through the actions of people that have surrounded me. My evidence is… The dear sister who taught me how to discipline my son in a godly way. The couples who have patiently helped my husband and I to build a marriage and family on God’s foundation rather than our own thinking. The sister who forgave me when my harsh opinion made it back to her ears. And so many other moments where God’s grace was shown to me by others.
I love working with teens and preteens. They are so inquisitive, full of wonder, so perplexed about many things, and trying to make sense of life, their own bodies, desires, and the future. I have been working with this age group for over 15 years and sure, some days it can be exasperating… but their journey of discovery is one we have all been on and can relate to. They are learning how to make choices for their lives and experiencing the natural consequences of those choices, whether positive or negative. How many times have I said to myself: “Boy, I’ll never do THAT again!”
I have learned that in their moments of “painful discovery and hard truths” in life, that the most effective and helpful first response is empathy and compassion. Leading with love and grace opens the heart and mind to learning and discovery. Just like it does for me and each one of us.
As we close out this series, I leave you with a few questions to consider:
Can we grow in our compassion and extend grace to those who are experiencing hurt and confusion over life choices?
Can we extend grace to those who have made life choices that we don’t agree with?
Can we be different in our thinking/actions from the world around us and be a source of grace in action to a hurting world?