Just like Grace Turned Outward, all God’s gifts change us permanently. They not only affect something in us, they affect the way we see and treat others around us. Grace doesn’t just stop with my receiving it; it goes on in the way I give it out. The way we are treated will affect the way we treat others.
This is an important part of receiving from God; it changes us. You can’t receive God’s grace without giving it out to others. You can’t receive what you don’t deserve and then go out and make everyone else pay.
The following shows how this is true with many of God’s gifts.
We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive.
We’ve been loved, so we love.
We’ve been freely accepted, so we accept others freely.
We’ve been given mercy, so we are merciful.
We have escaped judgment, so we do not judge.
We’ve been welcomed in, so we welcome all.
The door was opened for us, so we left it open to others.
We are different people from what we were;
We are the embodiment of Grace Turned Outward.
In each case, if the corresponding change does not occur in us, there is reason to believe we didn’t really receive the gift. If you receive God’s love for you, you will become a more loving person, and if you reject His love, you will find it difficult to love.
Or take forgiveness. Forgiveness received means forgiveness given. Once you realize you’ve been forgiven, you want everyone else to be forgiven too. You want them to have what you have. That’s why you tell your story: so that someone else might be set free.
When Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,” he was not making our forgiveness contingent on our forgiveness of others; He was showing us that one is inextricably tied to the other. If you are forgiven, you will be forgiving. And consequently, if you can’t forgive, it’s because, for one reason or another, you have not received or believed your own forgiveness.
It’s that way with all of these gifts. Grace received will be manifested in Grace Turned Outward because that is part of the nature of grace. We know it by what it produces in us.