Grace is necessary


A few years ago my daughter Maggie asked me if she could have an owl for a pet. “Owls don’t make good pets Maggie,” I said. “Yes they do,” she retorted.

“No, owls don’t make good pets. They are predatory birds.”

“They don’t eat people!” she protested.

“True, they don’t eat people. But their claws and beak can really hurt you badly. Their nature is to attack and defend themselves. They don’t make good pets. As a matter of fact, it’s illegal to have an owl for a pet.”

It is the nature of owls to hunt and kill. The same is true with wolves, lions, tigers, and bears. It is not in their nature to be domestic. True you can train them to entertain, to work, or to be around people. But you don’t see trainers and owners of these animals without special equipment; they are fully aware of the nature of these animals.

Just like the nature of an owl is to hunt an kill its prey, the nature of human beings is to sin. There is no human being born of a man and a woman who does not share this nature. Acting from self centered ambition is natural to us.

The reason that passages like:

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace;

and 4:32 (NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you;

and 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing,

are so common throughout the Scriptures is because God knows that there are going to be plenty of opportunities where we will be tempted to do otherwise. The peace that God promises in this world is not freedom from conflict, but a peace that comes from having the supernatural power of divine grace to overcome conflict.

The only way to learn forgiveness is to be offended. The only way to learn compassion is to be faced with a person’s pain. The only way to learn to love the way God loves is to love without expecting any friendship or return of that love at all.

God is sovereign not only over the blessings he brings into your life but the troubles, challenges, headaches, and heartaches that come into your life. They are not punishments. They are the very tools that God uses to cut away the old self and grow the new.

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