When we read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), we come across his teaching on prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer. There is a lot to learn from that section of the sermon.
One of those subjects is forgiveness. When we pray “forgive us as we forgive,” I’m not sure we fully appreciate the level of forgiveness in that thought. And I’m pretty confident we fail to appreciate the amount of grace it requires.
One test we can administer to check our personal understanding of grace is found in this question: Do I give others the same amount of grace that I give myself?
For example, when we decide to give ourselves grace to eat whatever we want for the 96 hours of Thanksgiving, do we give that same grace to others we observe eating whatever they choose for one meal at the “all you can eat” special on a random day in August? Or when someone messes up on the job, do we give them the same amount of grace that we give ourselves when we mess up?
Taking this a step further in the direction of Jesus’ teaching, what if we practiced giving grace at the level we have received it? He taught more about this in another passage recorded by Matthew, chapter 18. Verses 21-35 tell the story of a guy who was forgiven a $100,000 debt, yet he wouldn’t forgive a $10 debt showing he didn’t know how to give grace even though he had received it. ALERT: This guy had a grace equality problem!
Not sure about your grace equality? Try test number two. When’s the last time you had to work really hard to give grace to someone? Compare that to the last time you gave yourself grace and that difficulty level. What’s the gap between the two and what’s it going to take to close it?
Here’s a suggested addition to your daily prayer: “Father, thank you for your endless grace. Deepen my understanding of it. Grow my grace equality.”