The anchor on Good Morning America used a word that is seldom heard on secular programming; “grace.” This was not a reference to George Burns’ wife or the late Princess of Monaco (look them up, young people), but concerned baseball. Grace showed up on the front page of today’s St. Petersburg Times as the editor referred to the “remarkable grace” demonstrated by two men.
Over and over reporters and commentators have made reference to the gracious response of Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga who was denied a perfect game by a bad call. They also have marveled at the prompt and sincere apology of umpire Jim Joyce. Grace seemed to be the only thing that could overrule an ugly situation.
The Greek root word (charis) translated grace is used in a variety of applications throughout Scripture. However, at the core of our understanding is the grace that an eternal God has shown to sinful men. We deserved punishment, but God in his infinite love offered His own Son as our sacrifice. The apostle Paul reminds us that “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” Ephes. 2:4-5
Based on this foundation of God’s forgiving mercy, believers are called to demonstrate grace to a world that needs it, but rarely experiences it. This story from Major League Baseball emphasizes that point. Everyone is celebrating the response of two men. Basically, one apologized and the other accepted and offered forgiveness. These are fairly simple acts that, in reality, are rarely practiced. We have come to expect caustic outbursts and the threat of lawsuits. It is not hard to imagine that if Christians genuinely lived as we are instructed, then the world would sit up and take notice. If this much attention is paid to a simple display of forgiveness, what would happen if believers regularly acted in kindness and forgiveness toward others? What would be said about us if we always seasoned our speech with grace? When we reflect the grace that has been poured out on us, it will provide innumerable opportunities to introduce people to our Savior.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephes. 4:32