Mercy and Grace

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Mercy and grace. We hear those words often. They are quite similar, yet different.

Miriam-Webster dictionary defines mercy as:

1a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power also : lenient or compassionate treatment

b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder

2a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion

b : a fortunate circumstance

3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress

It defines grace as:

1a : unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

b : a virtue coming from God

c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

Years ago one of my ministers explained mercy and grace this way.

We’re speeding down the road and get pulled over by a police officer. We deserve a ticket, but instead, the officer gives us a warning.

That’s mercy.

Not getting what we deserve.

Before the officer leaves the side of our car, however, the officer pulls out two sought-after tickets to our favorite event.

That’s grace.

Getting something we don’t deserve.

Jesus told a parable on mercy and grace in his story about the unforgiving servant.

The servant owed a great deal of money to the king, but begged for mercy when the king ordered the man, his wife, his children, and all he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees begging for mercy, promising to pay back all he owed.

The king in his mercy and grace took pity on the servant and forgave him his debt.

But when the servant left the king’s presence, he came upon an acquaintance who owed him a mere pittance. He demanded the friend pay back the money right away.

The friend begged for mercy, asked for patience, and said he would pay back the debt. The ungrateful servant who had been forgiven much, refused. He had his friend who owed him little thrown into debtor’s prison until the debt was paid.

When the king heard of this, he called the wicked servant to appear before him. He reminded the servant, he expected him to give mercy as he’d been given mercy.

In anger the king turned the servant over to the jailers to be tortured until the servant could repay the enormous debt he owed.

God poured his mercy and his grace upon us when he allowed his son, Jesus, to take on the sins of the world and die in our place. Jesus paid the debt we owed but could never pay.

Just like the king in Christ’s parable, because God has shown us mercy and grace, he expects us to be merciful and gracious to others in return.

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Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Matthew 18:32-35 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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Forgive as You’ve Been Forgiven

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

We’re almost two weeks out from the Easter season. That time of reflection and repentance. The time when we focused on our need for a Savior and asked for forgiveness.

Hopefully, in the process we also extended forgiveness.

For some of us, extending forgiveness is not the first thing we think of when we are wronged.

Are you kidding me?

We’re angry. We’ve been treated horribly.

We’ve been hurt beyond words.

If you really knew what happened …

The offender should suffer. They should pay. They should not be let off easy.

Why should we forgive?

Sure, the Bible tells us we’re supposed to forgive, but aren’t their exceptions? You know. For the really big things that happen to us?

The ones that really hurt. The ones that are huge. The ones we’re totally justified in withholding our forgiveness over.

Well, one of the things I’ve found unforgiveness does is it makes the unforgiving person bitter. We keep rehashing and reliving the hurtful scenario over and over and over. We imagine clever come-backs that would put the other person in his or her place. We get the attitude thing going, and let our pain fester instead of allowing God to help us heal.

After awhile, all we can think about is the hurt we’ve endured. Nothing is right with the world. The more we dwell on the pain, the more it consumes us.

But you know what?

All that bitterness pushes us further away from God, and we play right into the hands of the deceiver. Ouch.

Because we know Jesus took our sins on the cross and died to forgive us, we know we should offer forgiveness to those who sin against us, but it is soooo difficult to do sometimes, don’t you think?

We just don’t want to forgive.

In some perverse way, it’s almost as if we’d rather make ourselves miserable holding onto unforgiveness, than be set free of its burden so we can get on with the rest of our lives by forgiving.

And you know what else?

The person who hurt us probably moved on long ago.

I truly believe we need God’s help to forgive others. In our humanness we fail. We rationalize. We hold onto the hurt. It goes against our very being to forgive, but through the power of Christ in us, we can forgive.

Maybe we start with baby steps and work up to full-blown forgiveness. I’ve found that to be the case in most of my situations. It takes time. It takes work. It takes Jesus reminding me I’m forgiven, so how can I refuse to forgive. Sigh.

Are we content to receive forgiveness, yet unwilling to extend it? Something to ponder, is it not?

What have you found helpful in forgiving those who have wronged you?

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Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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An Attitude Like Christ

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sure, as a Christian, my attitude is to be like Christ. I know that. I want that. More times than I like, I fail that.

But not this day.

The other morning as I waited in line to pick up a prescription at my local pharmacy, the elderly lady in front of me was engaged with the pharmacy tech long after her ‘script had been rung up.

I didn’t time the conversation, but it seemed to run close to five minutes. Most of the talk was non-prescription related. Hollis moved away from the counter, in an effort to discourage the customer. But the lady kept talking. Hollis even turned her back, shuffled through the bin of prescriptions, and pulled my ‘script out as she waited for the lady to leave.

When the lady in front of me finally turned and left, Hollis mouthed, “Sorry.” I smiled and waited for the elderly lady to make her way past me before I edged to the counter.

Hollis apologized over and over again about taking so long with the previous customer. “It’s okay. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re patient with me. Why wouldn’t I expect you to be patient with everyone else?”

There it was. An attitude like Christ.

Relief filled Hollis’ face.

Why didn’t it bother me to wait for the previous customer to wrap up her transaction and move on her way? Because while I waited, Jesus reminded me I was just like that lady. I was someone who needed a sympathetic ear. A kind word. A friendly smile. Grace.

In that women Jesus showed me I too, am someone who daily stands before the throne of grace asking one more question of the Savior who died for me. Having one more thing I need to say. Needing one more word of assurance, kindness, love, direction…before I go on with the busyness of my day.

An attitude like Christ…something to strive for. Something not always achieved. Something attainable through the power of the One who lives in us, nonetheless. Something that, when we exhibit it, leaves us with a smile on our face and a sense of finally getting it right.

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In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NCV)

I wish you well.


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I’ve sat through plenty of discussions on Adam and Eve, and the fall of the human race. The way I see it, if it hadn’t been Adam and Eve, it would have been someone else. We’re all sinners. The only one to walk this earth and not sin, was Jesus.

When we visited with my mom during one of her nursing home activities — Bible Trivia — the question was asked…Who sinned in the Garden of Eden? Not missing a beat, Mom said, “Eve. Women get blamed for everything.”

She’s right. Eve did sin in the Garden. And she is blamed for it.

In The Story, the second song is “Good”. It speaks of Adam and Eve’s desire to have a do-over, of sorts. It speaks of changing history, if they could, and choosing differently. The song says Adam and Eve would leave out the part where they broke God’s heart. They long to turn back time, and walk in the sunset with their LORD again. But then they ask God how he could look at them, and what they’d done, and still call them good.

I’d like to submit many of us may feel the exact same way…we’ve sinned. Done what we know we shouldn’t do, but did it any way. We’d like another chance. We miss the closeness we experienced with our God. We want a do-over.

Fortunately, God gives us that chance through his grace. Undeserved favor. Something we didn’t do anything to earn. A gift. The gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, that paid the price for our sins. The Sacrificial Lamb. By his wounds, we are healed.

February. The second month of 2014. Already two months into another new year. No matter. Each day, we have a clean slate in front of us. It’s ours to use as we please. As we desire.

Do we need to choose differently than we did in 2013? Are there areas of sin we need to surrender to Jesus, for his help in overcoming? Are there people we need to reach out to, apologies we need to make, forgiveness we need to extend? A do-over?

Despite all our messes and faults, God still calls us good.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. Genesis 1:27 & 31

I wish you well.


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