“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I’m pretty sure Romans 5:8 was one of my memory verses in Sunday School when I was a little girl. Now it’s part of what people call the Roman Road. I’m not wholly sure what that means, but it has something to do with the book of Romans and also Jesus and salvation and roads. I think.

Like much of the Bible, Romans 5:8 is a verse I heard as a young child and am just now beginning to understand. And I begin to understand it over and over again. I haven’t really “got it” just yet. I probably never will.

I often think about grace, the type of grace Romans 5:8 talks about. The grace that acknowledges how, while we had absolutely nothing good or redeemable or righteous in ourselves but were complete sinners, Jesus died for us, to make us good and redeemed and righteous. We didn’t deserve it, we didn’t want it, and we can’t fully appreciate the power of that sacrifice.

At times, I notice some Christians who show a definite lack of grace. They easily write off those they consider unworthy of grace or love or mercy and instead focus solely on the people who are a little more deserving of their love and attention. They forget, of course, that if Jesus had acted the same way they act, none of us would have any hope of salvation. We’d all be doomed.

And, as there’s always irony in my judgment, I get irrationally angry at those Christians. I write them off, considering them unworthy of grace or love or mercy. I’d rather give my love and encouragement and attention to the more loving Christians. I forget how, if Jesus had acted the same way I act, none of us would have any hope.

At least once or twice a week God speaks to me with the same type of “Ouch!”-inducing lesson. This week he showed me how I don’t want to show grace to people who don’t show grace. As if real grace could somehow discriminate. Grace is not dependent on any circumstances. Grace is all-encompassing, all-forgiving, no matter the recipient, no matter the sin.

I’m very quick to look at other Christians and think, “Ugh, if they’d only stop and realize the amount of grace they’d been shown, they’d start showing grace and mercy to someone else now and then.” God’s lesson this week was, “Pot, meet kettle.”

That’s it. I’ll stop here.

What have you learned about grace recently? How has God shown you grace? How have you shown grace to others?