There’s a purple sticky note that’s been a long-term resident of my desk top. It’s a little maxim of Ann Voskamp’s (if you aren’t familiar with her work, check out her website). It reads: Inhale Gospel. Exhale Grace in this place.
Breathe in the Gospel, of the unmerited forgiveness and unconditional grace of God, poured out on us through Jesus. Rest in the Truth of being chosen and adopted as a child of God and an inheritor of his promises. Lavish love, merciful justice, undeserved favor.
And breathe out Grace on those in the space around you. Grace for foibles and faults, for the ways you’ve been sinned against and slighted. Grace for the moments another’s imperfect humanity rubs rough against us. Letting go of the need to get even or the desire to keep a grudge. Forfeiting justified angst or repayment. In the fashion of our Savior, pouring unmerited forgiveness, unconditional grace, undeserved favor.
We begin to look like Jesus in this; we grow in Christlikeness. As those saved by his blood, we should have the imprint of his character on our lives, which grows more noticeable the longer we walk with him. We are invited to live out who He is to the world.
I think of a child with her miniature tool kit following her father around the house as he’s doing repairs. He hammers a nail, and she follows suit with her orange plastic hammer. Next, the tape measure or the screw driver. She mimics his actions, “contributing” to the repairs. Does she do the heavy lifting? By no means. But she watches her father, and imitates what he does, scaled to the context of her little toddler world.
So we imitate our Father, doing as He does, but scaled to the context of our little worlds. We fumble, not as sure, not as experienced as He. But we try our hands at forgiving as we see Him forgive and loving as we see Him love. We see his Gospel, and we live out Grace.