Washed by Grace
We all know people who do all the “right things” and yet bad things still happen. Conversely, we also know people who live crazy lives and they always seem to prosper.

I think I first became familiar with this concept when I was in high school…specifically when I was taking the SATs. You see, I studied incredibly hard to make the grades I made. I was an A/B student, but school didn’t come easy to me. When it came time to take the SATs, I didn’t even break 1000. Meanwhile, I noticed other kids who barely made it to school on time to take the test – they might have even been hungover when they arrived, and yet they nailed the exam and went on to a big fancy college.

I only use the SATs as an example (because I honestly don’t really care about the SATs – I’m completely satisfied and content with the path God led me down), but we’ve all seen it happen before: health, finances, marriages, etc. So, with that said, this past weekend, my church continued our series called, “Bad Boys of the Bible.” This week, we talked about Judah.
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We’re introduced to Judah in the first book of the bible, Genesis. Rather than go through all of the scripture, I thought I’d point out the highlights: 
  • Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob and brother to Joseph (the dreamer with the “Coat of Many Colors”). He was instrumental in “saving” Joseph from death by suggesting that they (he and his brothers) sell him into slavery. Genesis 37:26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.”
  • Judah later found himself in a tricky situation with Tamar, the wife of his oldest son, Er (Genesis 38). To make a long story short, Judah gets Tamar pregnant as a result of not honoring a covenant (there’s more to it than that). Genesis 38:26 “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”
  • Fast-forward…Judah is given a chance to protect another of his brothers, Benjamin. Judah offers himself to Jacob as surety for Benjamin’s safety, to Joseph (his other brother). Joseph (who is in disguise) tests whether the brothers have changed their ways (since the time where they sold him into slavery) by tricking them into a situation where he can demand that Benjamin be taken. Judah does as he promised and makes a plea to Joseph (Genesis 44).
  • Finally, in Genesis 49, Jacob is getting old and blesses Judah and his brothers.
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As you can see in Genesis 49:8-10 (above), regardless of the chaos and destruction that Judah caused in his life, he did NOT get what he should have had coming. Grace is the vehicle God uses on occasion to ensure that we get exactly what we don’t deserve.

Imagine the “Judah’s” of your life. Maybe it’s a brother, a sister, your spouse, a parent, a coworker or a friend. They are going down a path that is so destructive and far removed from the path God intended. I definitely have such a person in my life – my brother. Without going into too much detail (I’d be happy to go into more detail by email), I ask that you pray for him. We must be reminded that Grace is NOT reserved for “Good People.” I’m further reminded of this after watching the final verdict of the Casey Anthony trial (if you haven’t seen it already, she was found not guilty). There is not one person who is not deserving of grace…a second, third and even fourth chance.

Furthermore, if Grace is the vehicle God uses, then we (you) might be the driver…the one to offer grace to another. I am far from perfect, I am always and forever flawed, but we are called to live a grace-filled life. By demonstrating grace to others, we create a magnet that draws others to God.
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So, how do we demonstrate Grace in our daily lives? 
  • We offer unconditional love to our families – it starts at home. However, grace is not to be confused with discipline (unfortunately, the two often get tangled). Actions speak louder than words. 
  • Give people the benefit of a doubt. Not everyone is out to hurt you. If we only knew (or tried to understand) the baggage people carried around with them, we might be more gracious.
  • Do more for others without expecting anything in return. Get rid of the “I deserve more” mentality.
  • Pray.
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With all that said, who are the Judah’s in your life? What are you doing to offer them grace? Or…how have you personally experienced grace in your life? Either way, I pray that at some point, we are all washed by grace.
If you are interested in seeing/hearing the original message entitled “Ambushed,” click HERE.