A Different Kind of Courier
You are a courier.
Not a drug courier or a parcel courier.
A grace and peace courier.
Today you will likely bump into stressed-out people, angry people, people in the middle of conflict, people returning evil for evil, and probably some people who just don’t like you. There will be haters, tailgaters, queue jumpers and mistake makers. Some people will be stuck, some careless, some indifferent. It’s a world where sinners regularly bump into one other, a world that desperately needs an ongoing, generous supply of grace and peace.
Sin messes with our relationships. It leads people to focus on themselves (or some other idol) rather than the other person. When this happens, healthy relationship becomes impossible, and people get hurt.
There may be nothing as powerful as sin and hurt in twisting our relational instincts. Repaying evil for evil can seem so sensible and feel so right.
I will talk to them the same way they talked to me. That’s fair.
I will give them some of their own medicine. That will teach them.
They are looking after themselves – I’d better look after myself. No one else will.
Sin and hurt in a relationship can turn us into relational vigilantes who have a holy calling to crack down on the wrongdoer, who is almost always the other person, of course. We believe we see the situation correctly. We begin thinking that more rules, greater justice, will fix things. But our perception of justice is compromised. Our sense of what is good and right is messed up. We end up living out the reality of Proverbs 14:12:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
You never hear someone say the world needs more judgemental people. No one says we need more evil in the world, yet we are often bent on repaying evil for evil, even if it is the sneaky, subconscious, passive aggressive kind. But I have heard many people say the world needs more peacemakers, more forgiveness, more mercy. This is because grace and peace lubricate relationships.
Grace and peace stop relationships from seizing up.
Look closely and you will spot it. Take notice of the man who doesn’t retaliate after being called an idiot. Watch the woman who is willing to resolve a relational problem by having a hard conversation. Or even the young person at the supermarket checkout who said thank you and really meant it.
Grace and peace make relationships go.
God gave us grace and peace in the person of Jesus. At the time we most needed it, yet weren’t even looking for it, He gave it freely. And this grace and peace is not just for us but for others also. All who have received it are commissioned to take it and distribute it in our relationships with others. The apostle Paul is a fine example of this in the opening greetings of his letters in the New Testament.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
Grace and peace to you, over and over, letter after letter.
Grace – a word often thrown around in churches. But what is it? When my children were young I taught them that grace was getting something good that you don’t deserve – like getting a present you couldn’t earn and couldn’t buy. God regularly gives humanity good things they don’t deserve, from love and forgiveness to air-conditioning, and He calls us to be like Him.
You give grace by forgiving people (Eph 4:32), by being compassionate (Col 3:12), by blessing others with your words (Eph 4:29), by having hard conversations for the sake of the relationship (Eph 4:15), by warning others when you see they are on shaky ground (Prov 27:5-6). Practise giving these good gifts, whether or not they are deserved (and probably, especially when they are not).
Peace. When we think of peace we often think of the absence of trouble, but in the Bible peace is much bigger than that. It has to do with an ongoing sense of blessing, wholeness and restoration. Peace isn’t simply smooth sailing. We experience biblical peace when life and relationships operate the way God created them to. Our calling is not to throw a spanner in the works but to get the spanners out and throw them away! Don’t act in ways that perpetuate evil, hurt people and cause relationships to malfunction.
You are called by God to give people something good they don’t deserve, and to give yourself to building relationships marked by restoration and wholeness.
Get into it!