We've got a Presbyterian church here in our neighborhood. It's right around the corner. Almost daily, I pass by it in my car. But it wasn't until last weekend I noticed something on it's sign out front. In big letters I could see the name of the church. But underneath, in small letters, I finally saw this little message: "A Place Of Grace".
I don't know much about that church. No clue who the pastor is. No idea what the budget might be. No guess as to how many people attend its services. But I do know this for sure: A place of grace is the right kind of church.
See, we're all sinners. I know I am. And so are you. We've all done wrong. We've all made poor choices. We've all missed the mark. But the great thing about God is He forgives us and wipes our guilt away. He doesn't hold our wrongdoings over our head. And He doesn't expect us to live eternally in shame. When we confess our sins to us, He forgives. And He treats us far better than we deserve. That's what grace is. And it really is an amazing thing!!
So because God shows us grace, we also need to show each other grace. That's what a good church does. People fail. People do dumb things. People make foolish decisions. And we have a choice: We can beat up on these people, condemn them, and kick them while they're down, OR we can love them unconditionally, offer them forgiveness, and point them to our loving God who has all the blessings they could ever want.
The older I get, and the more life experiences I have, the more I'm a grace guy. Yep, I'm really thankful for God's grace in my life. I'd be lost without it! And I really want to show grace to others. I want to show them forgiveness, love, and help, because that's exactly what God has shown me. And I firmly believe with all my heart that no matter who they are, where they've been, or what they've done, the church should be the one place where they're welcomed, treated with kindness, and offered a word of hope.
So may all of our churches here in Sumter, and around the world, be places of grace. Let's share with others what God has shared with us. It'll bless people more than anything else we give them.