I'm Free to Give Grace

2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I was doing the frantic try to find the needed supply for my child before school the next morning thing. She needed a particular novel and needed it stat. I could not find it at the first few stores I went in. I assessed my situation and decided my greatest chance of success would be to go to a large national retailer. And sure enough - sweet success!

The same day, I ran into a more "seasoned" Christian woman who I both look up to and admire. She asked what I had been up to and I laughed as described my frenzied search for the book. Shocked, she looked at me with a mixture of sadness and disgust and said, "I can not believe you purchased a product from __________." She then went into a litany of reasons that particular merchant is one step shy of the devil himself and basically implied I was Satan's advocate.

This will probably not be much of a revelation but between carpools, homework, cleaning, laundry and simply living with four other females and one male, I don't really have too much time to research the corporate decision-making of every large firm operating in America. While I applaud those who do, I'm just not one of them. That sweet lady had thrown grace to the wind in favor of strict adherence to a set of guidelines that are cultural not Biblical.

Today I am reading 1 Corinthians 8. The issue of whether eating meat that was sacrificed to idols has surfaced. Paul clearly explains the two sides of the coin. One side is that we have complete freedom in Christ to eat as we choose as long as our heart is clear before God. The other side is that if our doing so causes another Christian to sin it's not worth exercising our freedom.

Just this week I ran into a man I hadn't seen in twelve years and he almost immediately inquired, "Do you not wink anymore?" This surprisingly is a legitimate question. Before I started spending daily time with God, I winked at everyone. It was part of my playful personality and I truly meant nothing by it other than the shared secret of joy in special moments.

One day it occurred to me that this could be a distraction to my Christian brothers and perhaps even sisters. If my winking were misconstrued as flirting, it could bring unwelcome thoughts into someone's mind. I chose to surrender my habit of winking to God and ask for His help in breaking it. My choice to cease winking does not give me the right to become the winking police and go around my neighborhood handing out citations to Christians who wink. In fact, I am probably the only person in Christian history that God will ever have to convict about this issue.

Where my sweet older friend got off track was in believing that her decision to not visit a specific vendor meant that everyone had to as well. Her heart was clean before God. Mine was as well. I still shop at __________ from time to time, usually in full on sweat over the purchase of some school novel.

Thank you, Jesus, for freedom. Thank you giving us the freedom to choose where we shop, what we eat and even whether or not we wink occasionally. Today help me remember that with that freedom comes the responsibility of giving grace to others. With a smile and maybe not a wink, I'll extend grace this very day.


  1. Loved "meeting" your family via your blog. Thanks again for emailing me! I had to say I loved this post. Judgmental people slap wear me out! I used to be one of them but I am learning to not judge the wrapping so much that I miss what's inside. And as for stores, I am with you. I have NO time to investigate the practices of corporations. It's about crossing off my to-do list for this busy mom!!

    I love what you're doing here on this blog-- really giving women a glimpse of what it means to interact with God through His Word. I'd love to know how you choose the Scriptures you're going to read-- are you working your way through the Bible or do you use a study? Let me know if you write a post about that.


  2. Hey Marybeth,

    Thanks for the great question. I am blogging my way through the New Testament one passage at a time over the course of a year. It is exciting to watch God gather women to walk this journey with Him. By the end of year many will accomplish something they may never have though possible - gained an understanding of the entire New Testament.

    If I continue next year, we may go on to Moses and My Manna with the first five books of the Old Testament or David and My Daily Bread through the Psalms. I'll just have to wait and see what God has in store (so exciting!)

    On a personal note, doing this has enhanced my time with Jesus because I'm forced to sit here until I hear from Him. I've grown a ton just by saying yes to what God asked of me. What a special gift from our Sweet Jesus!


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