As we reflect on scripture, we find a consistency of God’s unfailing love, mercy and grace towards mankind. Over and over again, we see how a perfect God chose and used imperfect people to make His glory known. He is a God that specialises in using the weak to overcome the strong. The poor He makes rich in faith, and the sinner He makes a saint as a testimony of His grace. In all of these, God blesses and honours us in spite of our weaknesses and moral imperfections. Psalm 103:10 simply puts it this way, “He does not deal with us according to our sins,nor repay us according to our iniquities”. Praise God for that!
While this is something to be grateful for, we are also aware of the fact that our sins and imperfections could have some consequences. Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor”.
Sometimes, in the midst of all the good, a little slip could seem to outweigh years of moral uprightness and integrity. To the people around you, it becomes the tiny drop of oil in the clean jar of water. Just the little drop of oil seems to ruin the lot. Just the little slip of tongue in anger. Just the little bad decision made in a moment of passion. Just the one time you couldn’t help in comparison to the many times you had sacrificially helped. All these could be the little “dead flies [that] make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench”. But as Christians, we have been called to bear with each other’s weaknesses as Christ bore with us. We have been called to recognise our own imperfections and be sympathetic and patient with others. We have not been called to judge and criticise as the world judges, but to see through the eyes of grace that looks beyond the little folly or the little blemish. Does that mean we turn a blind eye to sin or unrighteousness? No! It means, rather than look down at our brother or sister, we are meant to give them a hand back on their feet, while also recognising the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit that is already at work in them.
Just as our Father is a God of grace, we as His children have been called to be a people of grace. Grace is broad and complex in nature, but the chief end of grace is to transform lives through patience, mercy and favour.