A year ago, as part of a ministry that I was involved in, I was asked to choose one word to inspire or guide me in the coming year and to choose a scripture verse to go along with it. As a lover of words, this was a perfect assignment for me! I have since learned that there’s a whole #OneWord365 movement on the internet urging members to choose just one word to focus on every day, all year long; a word that sums up who they want to be or how they want to live.
Last year, my one word was still and the Bible verse I chose to accompany it was Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.”
This year, I decided to repeat the exercise with a new word for 2018. After much consideration, I chose the word grace. I would like to be known and remembered as a woman of grace. The scripture passage that has become my life guide in recent times is Colossians 3:12. Though it doesn’t actually use the word, I think it epitomizes grace. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
There are, of course, many Bible verses that do include the word grace. One that comes quickly to mind, especially so close on the heels of the Christmas season, is John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Christ was full of grace! I want this to be a year when I become a little more like Him; a little more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. This year, I want to be intentional (that’s another word I considered as my one word for 2018) about offering grace to other people in practical ways.
In order to do that, I also need to look at what grace is not. Grace is not simply being nice. It’s not a peace at all costs, everything’s okay, and who am I to judge mentality. Sometimes grace includes confronting difficult issues and not shying away from controversial subjects. Sometimes it means talking honestly about the ugly, painful, and sordid struggles in our lives. It is honouring the dignity of others even when I don’t agree with them or their choices. Thankfully, offering this kind of grace is not something that I have to figure out how to do on my own.
When C.S. Lewis was asked to identify the one thing about Christianity that sets it apart from all other religions, he responded, ″Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.″ Biblical grace is the unmerited favour of God bestowed freely on all who choose to access it by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. This year and every year, I can rest in God’s gentle, extravagant, audacious grace, knowing that He is God Almighty and I am His beloved daughter. It is He who enables me to offer grace to others.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
What about you? Can you think of one word to inspire or guide you in this new year?