Posted by Ryan Smith:

Grace is such a beautiful word, the idea that our current trial or challenge can be forgotten, it can be moved by the sheer will of human beings in community with each other. Even in my own weakness and humanity, a community of grace inspires and provokes the inner most parts of me lost in depression, anger, and doubt to survive until hope arrives.

But so many times I am gracefully selfish. When confronted with graceful action I can get lost in counting the cost. "How will this make me look?" seems to be the first place I start. "Will I look more spiritual", will this action of grace make me feel important, or healed, am I really just showing grace just for me?

Yet over and over, I see people show faux-grace to others that benefits their motives over the restoration of another person.  What if  I lived and acted as if  one act of grace could save a life, heal a marriage, comfort the hurting, restore the broken, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and free the prisoner.

One act, one comment, one hug, could radically change the destiny of someone else.

Today exists not because the sun and moon need something to do. Today is the double-overtime opportunity for grace-insurgents to battle a western vulture-culture where pain is entertaining, and brokenness can be capitalized.

We all will have chance after chance before the day is done to show grace to someone, it may take effort, it may feel awkward, but it is a very real choice.

I was 14 years old, spending my first year of High School in a wheel-chair recovering from substantial reconstructive surgery. Towards the end of my recovery, my physical therapist challenged me to get out of my chair and walk across a platform with two-parallel bars to allow my arms to support my weight as I tried to take weak and broken steps  out of my chair up a step, across 5-7 feet  and  down again.

I fell, more than a few times, one day 2-3 times in a row. I gave up, I was broken, I had convinced myself that being in a wheel chair was better than trying and failing to walk.

My surgeon had come by to check on my progress, the therapist I am sure told the doctor what was happening, and my brokenness, my tears probably gave it  away too.

That is when grace happened.

This educated man, making a lot of money with better things to do, took off his lab-coat and knelt down next to my broken level. I remember his eyes, the intensity I felt in his grip as he helped me to my feet.  At some point in his life I am sure he must have been a football coach. Every fiber of my being that had quit was startled to life when he said,

"You will walk today, I won't leave until you do."

I felt weak, but this man looked me in the eyes with a confidence and investment that provoked me to move. He cheered every inch as if I won the super-bowl, "you can do it" hasn't been said more times in human history. When I stumbled, he caught me, he lifted me back up, this was for real.

I walked 7 feet with the help of grace from a man I barely knew, who wasn't paid any differently based on my success, who understood the challenges I was in. I am eternally grateful for the amazing image of grace I learned that day.  I have probably shared this story from my life countless times. It wasn't until a few years later I realized an even more powerful detail to this event. This man, a doctor, was also a father who had lost his 14 year-old son in a car crash just 2 years earlier.

I wonder did his own pain fuel the intensity he had to get me to walk across that platform, is that how he would have cheered his son had he survived and was recovering from injury?

Today we have a choice, we all have pain, we all are in need of grace.

Chose to show it, and live a life that bleeds grace on everyone who needs it. You may not be teaching a teenager to walk again, but you may be doing something just as powerful to someone considering suicide, give them a reason to live, or a family about to be evicted from their small apartment just may need a small gift in on their door-step, a single-mom that may be judged by other moms on the play-ground, may need a night-off as you watch and play with her kids. You never know who's life you may be saving. Dr. Richard Saved Mine.

Overthrow Judgement. Liberate Love.