Years ago, one of my best friends told me “Nothing is actually free.” We were talking about a free lunch I won. He said, “Sure, it’s free to you. But somebody paid for it.”
Never forgotten that. And it’s completely true.
That free CD you got – somebody paid for it. That free ticket to the show? Somebody ponied up. That free replacement of your defective BluRay player? The store or the company absorbed the cost.
Realizing this made me much more grateful for every ‘free’ thing I received. Someone paid. It just wasn’t me.
Now, that’s also true of grace. We speak pretty loosely about grace being free. We even talk about grace being limitless.
And that’s true. But it’s only free to the recipient. And it’s only limitless because somebody is willing to pay the price. So when we receive grace from God, it cost God something.
And today, grace might cost you. If you are going to offer it, it will be expensive. Real grace (undeserved love) doesn’t happen when there’s a mis-understanding that gets cleared up. Real grace doesn’t happen when someone apologizes and makes the situation right. Real grace is extended when someone wrongs you and you forgive them. Real grace is extended when you decide not to engage the battle or treat wrong with wrong, but to love anyway. And it hurts. It will cost you something – you are giving of yourself something you’d rather not. But you do it anyway.
Once I understood that, grace – real grace – ironically became easier to give. It was going to cost, but I just have to decide to pay the price on someone else’s behalf.
So go give grace freely today. Just remember it’s expensive. It will cost you something. And when you receive it from God, remember it cost him something too.
Because nothing is actually free.