Like you, I was shocked and deeply heartbroken by the horrific events in Beirut and Paris last week.
The violence, inequality and injustice that exists right now can start to feel insurmountable.
One thing that gives me strength and hope is recognizing that amidst the pain and challenge of our times, there are legions of remarkable human beings who are actively working to create a better world.
Not only for themselves, or for a specific religious or political ideology, but for all of humanity.
Specifically, for the billions (yes, with a b) of overlooked, forgotten and often marginalized populations.
Their important stories rarely make headlines or garner the support of international leaders.
But you don’t have to accept the world for what it is, you can mold it into what you think it could be.
Each of us has the power to use our lives to lift others up.
But how do you begin to make even a small difference in this world?
I understand how it can seem like such a pipe dream to believe that one person has any power what-so-ever to make even the smallest change in the world right now.
But I believe that there is a power that exists on this Earth that can literally transform lives from the inside out, and is even powerful enough to spread like wildfire.
It has happened in the past, and I believe it can happen right now in our lifetimes.
We just have to understand what it is and then adopt it into our lives and then share the truth of it’s power with as many people as possible.
So what is this POWER that I speak of?
Grace is a short word that carries a deep complexity of truth.
It can mean very different things to different people.
Some people understand grace as athletic.
For them it is the ability to stay balanced as you complete challenging tasks.
Dancers are graceful.
Skaters gliding across the ice are extremely graceful.
Grace can be referred to as an elegance of movement, the ability to transform everyday actions in to expressions of beauty.
We often link STYLE and Grace into almost a one word phrase.
For other people, grace is more philosophical, even theological.
Grace is unmerited favor.
We are saved by grace, through the generosity of another.
We remember the sweet sound of amazing grace.
(But… As we all know too well,)
Giving, and receiving, grace can be very challenging for us.
For most of us, what unites the different truths of grace is that they take hard work.
No one skates gracefully the first time they try.
Very few of us respond gracefully the first time we feel wronged.
It takes a lot of practice to become graceful.
We learn grace by trying.
We find ourselves in situations that demand grace.
When we could easily fall down, easily become resentful, we are given the opportunity to learn grace.
So what does any of this have to do with a power that has the ability to change the world?
Let’s think back to the time when Christianity was in it’s infancy…
The thing that caused that particular philosophy to spread was the kindness that the Christians offered to their fellow humans.
They would go into villages that were being ravaged by sickness and minister to the sick when the rest of the world was running away from them.
The Christians often paid for this kindness with their very own lives.
But they willingly did this because they wanted to teach the world how to live differently.
That is what I am proposing that our world needs once again.
That radical kindness that is only possible in a heart that is filled with kindness and grace.
Think about it like this…
The leaders who inspire me lead with grace.
I have worked with people who lead with elegance, learning to control their movements to express deep truths.
Their leadership is a form of art.
They find the balance required to continue motivating others, and create beauty as they do.
I have worked with people who have shown me kindness I did not earn.
Their generosity helped bring out the best in me…
even when I did not know it was there.
The graceful leaders I have been blessed to know have spent the deep time and effort necessary practicing daily to become more graceful.
They have changed the world I live in by their example.
They have shown me just how powerful GRACE actually is.
But the most powerful example of Grace in my life has been, and always will be Christ, himself.
He led us by example and taught us that once a person understands grace, he is no longer burdened by life.
Because along with grace comes some other pretty amazing gifts from God.
Here are just a few of those gifts and tools that you will discover in your quest to succeed and overcome the pain and suffering that is inevitable in this life:
• Grace—justification and forgiveness.
• Grace—God’s giving of mercy and favor.
• The faith of Christ will reside in you.
• God’s Spirit, through which we receive the willpower and motivation to forge ahead.
The message that I want to share today is that you, alone, CAN make a difference in this world.
God has freely extended His grace and help to His people.
He asks only that we use that Grace to grow ourselves in good works, walking in them as a way of life.
The law of God is the standard or benchmark that directs the paths of true Christians.
Keeping them develops character.
Doing these things shows God that the grace He has extended to us has not been in vain.
And by living as an example to the world and sharing this message of Hope through Grace, maybe we can start to heal the wounds that hate has created.