Thursday, January 24, 2013

There is power in Grace.

I am convinced that I always learn more from the kids I work with than they learn from me. Yesterday wasn't any different. 

One of the ways we try to train our kids to behave is through a system called kingdom coins. If the child behaves by listening, keeping their hands to themselves, eyes looking at the teacher, and mouths closed...then they get a kingdom coin. However, if they break any of the rules after they have already received their kingdom coin, it can be taken away. If by the end of the lesson, the child still has their kingdom coin--they get to pick a prize out of the prize box. 

There is a girl named Charday (I probably spelled that completely wrong!--she's on the left), that I love dearly. However, she can definitely have an attitude if you know what I mean. Well, yesterday, all of the kids got their kingdom coins. During the game time, Charday was yelling at another kid, so I took her kindgom coin away. 

Immediately after I took her coin away, she began to cry. It wasn't some small cry either. It was one of those ugly, gasping for breath kind of cries. It was one of those cries that really pierces your heart--even though you know the child deserves the punishment. 

A couple minutes into her cry attack, a little boy named Bit Bit, handed her his kindgom coin. I told Bit Bit that while it was very nice of him to share, Charday had broken the rules, so she wasn't going to get a kingdom coin today. Bit Bit continued to insist on giving his coin to Charday. He really wanted her to have it. 

If you knew what a big deal kingdom coins were to these kids--you'd understand the point I am trying to make. These kids get upset to the point of extreme waterworks when they get their coins taken away. Bit Bit himself at times thrown a fit over getting his own kindgom coin taken away. 

The fact that he would rather see a smile on Charday's face than his own happiness gave me a glimpse of what Jesus demands of us. 

Not only did I see the love and sacrifice we are to show to the people around us--I saw the face of Jesus. You see, Charday did not deserve to get a kindgom coin. But I used Bit Bit's offer to give Charday a kingdom coin as an opportunity to teach grace. 

You see--we don't deserve eternal life, just like Charday certainly did not deserve her kingdom coin. 
But Jesus steps in and he offers us grace. 
He gives us a new start. A fresh chance. 
No, Charday did not deserve her kingdom coin. 
But I don't deserve heaven. I don't deserve a relationship with Jesus. 

The second time Bit Bit (he's on the right!) offered his coin, I took it and gave it to Charday. I told her that Jesus loves her and he wants her to have a second chance. Her slate is made clean in Him. 
I don't deserve eternal life, but by the grace of God it has been given me. 
I didn't deserve a second chance, but the Lord took my life and made it into something new. 

I also used this opportunity to teach Bit Bit a lesson. He willingly showed grace to Charday and gave her his coin. I didn't give Bit Bit another coin. I know this sounds kind of mean, but showing grace to someone means we make a sacrifice. Giving grace is not easy. Grace asks to give something we have and give it to someone who may not deserve it. 
When I extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt me, it costs me my pride.
When I show love to people who don't treat my nicely, it costs me my ego.
When I go out of my way to do something for someone else who may not deserve it, it costs me my time that I don't want to willingly give. 

I explained to Bit Bit that when we chose to show grace to someone--we don't get a reward. And oftentimes, when we show grace to someone, we sacrifice something. So, Bit Bit didn't get to pick a prize out of the prize box yesterday because he chose to show grace. He gave up his prize to show grace to Charday--and he was very happy about it! However, we don't completely lose out when we show grace. Everything we lose is made up for in the fact that we are showing the face of Jesus to the world. Sharing Jesus with our lives far outweighs the loss of a kingdom coin--or anything for that matter. 

Isn't this such a beautiful picture of how Christ has loved us?
I mean, didn't he lose everything when he died on the cross for our sins--giving us exactly what we didn't deserve--eternal life. 

May we all be people like Bit Bit who chose to show grace--even when the other person doesn't deserve it--because that is how Christ has loved us. 

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