TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I have a confession to make. I love “The Brady Bunch.” For the sake of full disclosure and transparency… I’ve even read Barry Williams’ book, “Growing Up Brady.” More than once, actually. I know, I know… Stop laughing. My husband is miserable because it’s what I’ve been watching it in the evenings to unwind. His eyes may roll out of his head before I finish the series. But call me old fashioned and sentimental… I love the wholesomeness of the cheesy plot lines, corny catchphrases, and the fact that all Brady Bunch problems can be solved within 30 minutes. If only that were true in real life, right?!
As I navigate through “The Brady Bunch” episodes for the first time in a very long time, one episode, in particular, has hit me in a new way. The episode is called “Confessions, Confessions,” and it comes from Season 2. Peter accidentally broke Carol’s favorite vase when he was playing ball in the house (“She always said, don’t play ball in the house!”) In an effort to keep Peter from being punished, all the Brady kids (and even Alice!) confessed that they were the ones to break the vase. But Mike and Carol quickly figured things out. They devised a scheme to guilt Peter into telling the truth. As the only “innocent” member of the family, Peter had to come up with punishments for his brothers and sisters.
Watching this during the time we’re living in was very interesting. After all, there are a lot of strong opinions out there and a lot of very definitive ideas on how to address things. So with that said, I’m going to challenge you with some questions:
First… When you think of the person who has hurt or wronged you the most, what kind of punishment do you think they deserve? This is an easy one, right? It’s easy to think of payback for others’ wrongdoings.
Next question, same person… This person offered you a sincere apology for how they hurt you. Now what kind of punishment do you want to give them? This question might make you a little more uncomfortable… your heartstrings may start pulling while you wrestle with your desire for vengeance.
Finally… Think of the person who YOU have hurt or wronged the most, what kind of punishment do YOU deserve? Yikes. This one is hardest, right?
It’s easy to plan a punishment for the unrepentant. It’s a little harder to plan a punishment for the repentant. And hardest to plan a punishment for ourselves. Very few of us naturally gravitate towards mercy and grace.
Yet, that’s what we’re called to do. Romans 12:19-21 says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Gotta say—this is the last idea I’d have when thinking up punishments. Yet, it’s the one I’d want if someone were planning mine. When it comes to giving others what we think we deserve, we have to remember the unmerited grace we have because of Christ Jesus. And as recipients of that grace, we have to put down our desire for vengeance and extend grace too.
Obviously, I’m not saying that crimes shouldn’t be addressed or that we shouldn’t have due process through our legal system. We’re not talking about that, but even then, there’s room for grace in the form of forgiveness.
We give grace because we get grace. It’s that simple. John 1:16 reminds us, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
Today, as you pray, thank God for His great grace. Thank Him that though we deserve punishment for our sins, He chose to extend grace and mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a spirit of grace that is generously given, whether it’s deserved or not.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.