With grace, sin becomes the enemy, not people. What was it that enabled Paul to endure such sinful opposition and rotten attitudes from a group of people he risked his life to reach for Christ? What was it that kept him coming back and writing, instructing, and teaching, even when it seemed that none of it was sinking in?
Grace believes the best of people and draws it out of them. There is nothing cowardly about a gracious person. Grace is the most courageous of all virtues. It alone enables a person to face up to ridicule, slander, unforgiveness, and hatred, and to do much more than just react. Grace empowers a person to see beyond the sin of his enemy and to love the soul, to look beyond an angry brother’s faults and to see his needs.
Nicky Cruz came face to face one day with the power of grace on the streets of New York City in the form of a skinny little country preacher. In the 1960s, when David Wilkerson was responding to God’s call to reach out to drug addicts, he came in contact with Nicky. Resistant and bitter, on one occasion Nicky pulled a switchblade on the urban missionary and said, “I’m gonna’ cut you, preacherman!” With much more than just quick wit, Wilkerson replied, “Nicky, you can cut me into a thousand pieces and each one of them will say ‘I love you!’” Grace gave anger something it could not penetrate that day, and the rest is history.
The power of love is the fuel of grace. The gracious person is one who is convinced that love conquers all. No wonder Paul penned the classic love chapter and addressed it to the grace-deficient Corinthians.
The gracious person has a great tool at his disposal.