This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12
My husband Bob introduced me to the play Les Miserables. We saw the play together for the second time yesterday and again it deeply touched me, bringing me to tears. It has such a rich message about grace, the importance both of receiving and giving it.
The grace given in the play touches many lives for the good – Jean Valjean, Cosette and Marius. We see what grace is all about – giving with no strings attached, loving without needing to first be loved, giving to those undeserving of love.
The first time I watched the play I was struck by grace given and am still deeply moved by the evidences of grace given to others in this play. However, the second time seeing the play made me aware also of the ill effects produced when grace is not received. I saw the hardness, the self-righteousness, the inability to really have peace in life due to the inability to receive grace. I saw this in the character Javert.
After watching the play, I began evaluating myself on how much of a grace-giver and how accepting of grace I am. Do I give grace, regardless of how the person treats me? Do I give grace, regardless of social status? Do I give grace, even when someone lets me down or does not meet my expectations? Do I accept grace when I mess up? Do I accept grace when I think I do not deserve it?
The verses in 1 John 4:9-12 above remind me that God first loved us and proved that by sending Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. As we allow God’s love and power to live in and through us, we can give and accept grace and love. May our lives and the lives of others be touched this week by the grace of God.