The following was recounted about two popular denominational preachers of the 19th century and recorded in a 1983 issue of Moody Monthly:
Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker both had churches in London in the 19th century. On one occasion, Parker commented on the poor condition of children admitted to Spurgeon’s orphanage. It was reported to Spurgeon however, that Parker had criticized the orphanage itself. Spurgeon blasted Parker the next week from the pulpit. The attack was printed in the newspapers and became the talk of the town. People flocked to Parker’s church the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal. “I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here instead.” The crowd was delighted. The ushers had to empty the collection plates 3 times. Later that week there was a knock at Parker’s study. It was Spurgeon. “You know Parker, you have practiced grace on me. You have given me not what I deserved, you have given me what I needed. [http://tinyurl.com/4g6pms]
Grace is more than a free gift bestowed upon man by God. Grace is a gift that we can and should extend to our fellow citizens, neighbors, brethren, and especially our own family.
I must say, there have been times when my words toward the ones I love most have been anything but gracious, and there have been times when I’ve had to gather the family around and say, “I’m sorry.” You may be thinking the same thing about yourself.
Having just completed a discussion on relationships, including family relationships, the apostle Paul opens Colossians 4 with “. . . Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:5).
In the heat of the moment when your heart is flooded with emotions, instead of speaking unkindly to the one you love and thinking to yourself that your words for that person were provoked and deserved, remember what Paul just said.
Pause and think of a way to return kindness for unkindness–that’s why they call it grace!