Sunday, January 14, 2024

What to do when you are hurt by another Christian: Rely on God’s Grace

By Jeff Arnette

    Grace is a central concept in Christianity, and it holds profound significance when addressing hurt caused by fellow believers within the church. Grace refers to God’s unmerited favor and love extended to humanity, despite our flaws and shortcomings. Understanding and relying on God’s grace is essential when navigating the complexities of church relationships. It involves recognizing several key aspects of grace.
    Unconditional Love. God’s grace is marked by unconditional love. It is a love that does not depend on our merit or worthiness. When individuals have been hurt within the church, understanding God’s unconditional love can provide solace and reassurance. It reminds them that their worth and value are not determined by the actions of others.
    Forgiveness. Grace is closely linked to forgiveness. Just as God extends forgiveness to humanity, individuals are encouraged to forgive those who have caused them pain. This act of forgiveness is not based on the offender’s deserving it but on the recognition that forgiveness is a powerful expression of God’s grace.
    Compassion and Empathy. Grace fosters compassion and empathy. It encourages individuals to see their fellow believers through a lens of understanding, recognizing that all are recipients of God’s grace. This perspective promotes empathy and a willingness to extend grace to others, even when they have caused harm.
    Humility. Embracing God’s grace requires humility. It involves acknowledging one’s own need for grace and recognizing that, like others, we are imperfect and in need of God’s mercy. Humility is a key ingredient in fostering grace-filled relationships within the church.
    Reconciliation. Grace is a catalyst for reconciliation. It encourages individuals to seek reconciliation with those who have caused them pain. Just as God reconciled humanity to Himself through Christ, believers are called to be agents of reconciliation within the church community.
    A Messy Reality. Grace acknowledges the messy reality of human relationships. It recognizes that believers are, in the words of Ephesians 2:8, “sinners saved by grace” living in community with other sinners saved by grace. This acknowledgment underscores that the church is not a community of perfect individuals but a gathering of imperfect people on a journey of faith.
    Relying on God’s grace involves not only recognizing these aspects of grace but also actively embodying them in one’s interactions with fellow believers. It means extending grace to others, even when they have caused harm, and seeking grace for oneself when faced with one’s own shortcomings.
    In conclusion, grace is the foundation upon which Christian relationships are built and restored. It offers hope, forgiveness, compassion, and reconciliation. By relying on God’s grace and extending it to others, individuals can foster an environment of forgiveness and healing within the church community.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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