“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.””
I Peter 3:8-12 NKJV
EGR (Extra grace required)
We are all under pressure. Many of us are experiencing unprecedented things that none of us have dealt with in the entirety of our lives. Each day, we are made aware of new threats, of new things lurking dangerously on the horizon, previously thought unthinkable, but now rendered likely.
Wherever we go, there is no escape, for the pressure follows us, offering no respite. It is with us own our homes, it follows us to work, and even when we go out to entertain ourselves, hovering over our lives like looming dark clouds, promising of storms to come.
The church is not immune, for even in the pew, the place where we should find peace, we are being influenced by the pressures that lurk outside. Conflicts erupt, and those who are under greater pressure will sometimes act out, causing new pressures, this time within the house of God.
The tendency of the natural man is to meet conflict with conflict, to revile against the reviler, to fight fire with fire. While this is most certainly tempting, it is not what is expected of the born again follower of Jesus.
The passage in I Peter chapter three is a good reminder for the those of us who name the name of Jesus. The Lord has given us a mission, to go into all the world and share the Gospel. On that mission, we are being made a spectacle, for the very message that we bring draws the attention of those who are yet to believe.
Because we are a spectacle, it is urgent for us to show the love of Jesus to the outside world, but especially to those of the household of faith. This can be very trying, for we often save our most heated conflicts for those we are supposed to love.
The only antidote for the poison we can inject into the body of Christ, is humility.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 NKJV
God is in us all.
I tell you the truth, there have been Sundays when I have had to push myself to attend. Time and time again, I have found myself perched on the fence labeled, “do I stay or do I go.” So far I have stayed.
I am one who desires nothing more than to fade into the background, to go unseen, unacknowledged, but the Lord will have none of it, for He has cursed me with charisma and a bright shining, that reveals me even when I want to hide.
Because of this, I am made a spectacle amongst other spectacles, sought for good and evil. I am like the unicorn: some want to ride the unicorn, some want to kill it for its horn, and yet others want to do both.
I am reminded that God is in all of us who have believed on Jesus for salvation. It is in light of this that I seek to love, to extend grace to those who need extra grace.
Many years ago, a renowned mega church pastor coined the term EGR or Extra Grace Required. These are people in the congregation who, for one reason or another, require greater grace.
I tell you the truth, I am one of those. I am an irretrievably broken victim of childhood trauma, who craves isolation. I have an unbelievably sensitive radar that red flags perceived dangers quickly.
It is only by the grace of God that I live, and it is by the grace of God that I am able to love others.
Brothers and sisters, let us put on love in dealing with other in these darkening days. We are seeing the wrapping up of the age, the ending of all the we know and the gradual revealing of what is to come soon, and what is to come later. Let us show all the characteristics of love.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a NKJV
Let us also behave as those who have received the Holy Spirit, walking thusly with each other in the church, and especially while walking in the world.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Galatians 5:22-26 NKJV
May we be like our forerunners, those who, while facing a similar times as this, were united in the Spirit, looking after each other. May we pause before reacting, opting for time for our better angels to govern every interaction, that we be edifiers within the body, rather than destroyers.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
We are living sacrifices, laying down our right to offense for the greater good of the congregation. May our love cover a multitude of sins.
May our love be heavenly, may our interactions reflect the eternal state to come when we will all stand in glory around the throne giving our worship to the One who saved us.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.””
Revelation 7:9-12 NKJV
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3 thoughts on “EGR (Extra Grace required)”
Love you brother! I don’t note any extra grace required at all.
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Hell, I am an EGR, Bernie. I appreciate this reminder. Will you please pray for me to humble myself in a church meeting tomorrow please? Would you please pray for me to speak the truth of God and the truth from the past? Thank you my friend!
Also, remember that the Lord has given you a brilliant mind! I like you, would’ve much rather be in the background, too lowly, and too worthless to be used by God. I am proud and lazy.