I got to thinking the other day about two very meaningful words - grace and mercy.
Because grace and mercy are very important aspects of the two most important relationships in our lives. One is our relationship with God and the other is our relationship with our spouse.
We have all been the recipient of the two. There have been times in all of our lives when we received a blessing that we did not deserve and times when we were spared a punishment that we did deserve.
Obviously, we are always grateful for the kind hand of those on the administering end of such.
But, how do we fair when it's our turn to show benevolence? Do we offer up the same loving gentle hand?
I'm sure we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt that we would be the merciful one.
At least I do for myself anyway.
But, before we can really answer that question, we need to take a closer look at what it means to show grace and mercy.
Keep reading to dig a little deeper ...
What is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy?
So, what is the difference between grace and mercy? I think these are two terms that people often get confused. So let's make sure we understand the difference.
What is Grace
Simply put - grace is when we receive something that we did not deserve. This may be being granted forgiveness when we wronged someone. We are given forgiveness, but we did not deserve it.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 that:
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
We are undeserving of the salvation through faith. We can not earn salvation through works. It only comes as a gift from God.
What is Mercy?
When we say that someone has been shown mercy, it means that they have not received something that they deserved. They may have been spared a just deserved punishment.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 51:1-2:
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
King David knew that he needed God's mercy. In his prayer, King David asked that God, "Have mercy on me ..." spare him from the consequences of his sin.
We are the same as David. We do not deserve it, but we have been shown mercy from our sins through Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross.
Grace and Mercy in Marriage
The ability of each spouse to show the other spouse grace and mercy is key to the long-term success of the marriage.
Grace in Marriage
Grace is often described as an outward expression of love from one to another. God expressed his love through his favor of us and the gift of salvation. This is nothing we earned but was given.
What does grace look like in marriage?
I suppose this could be a very lengthy list, but I generally think of grace in marriage as:
- Granting them the benefit of the doubt in a tough situation
- Showing patience when they are getting on your last nerve
- Loving them for who they are vs who think they could be
- Being sympathetic when they are in hurting
- Supporting them when they are struggling
Work to be more gracious with your spouse. Don't wait for them to do so. Grace should be given freely.
If you want your marriage to reach its full potential, show grace freely in your marriage.
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Mercy in Marriage
Often people like to have the upper hand in a relationship. They feel that if the other (including spouses at times) is indebted or at their mercy, they can manipulate the situation to get something they want.
This type of thinking has no place in marriage.
If your spouse makes a mistake and you are using the situation to gain control in the marriage or over them, then you are working to undermine your spouse and your marriage. Manipulation has no place in a healthy, loving marriage.
"I'm sorry" is a very powerful phrase in marriage, but "I forgive you" is even more powerful. It shows that you are granting mercy of your spouse. both phrases that should be freely given in marriage.
The strongest of marriages are those that understand this and use these phrases freely.
Final Thoughts on Grace and Mercy
Scripture gives us the blueprint on how to exhibit grace and mercy. In your marriage, you have the power to bestow grace and show mercy to your spouse. It is up to you if you exercise this power or not.
There are going to be times when you are in the need of grace or mercy from your spouse. There are going to be times when you are going to have to show grace or mercy to them.
It's just how marriages work. You and your spouse are going to have to understand that true love looks to forgive, it looks to whip the slate clean and start anew.
In your marriage, let the example of a gracious and merciful God be your example of how to love your spouse more deeply. Your spouse will return your efforts and your marriage will grow stronger than you could ever have imagined.
Until next time,