On the discussion of fear, do you see God sitting in heaven holding a big stick ready to punish you?
Mercy and grace can be differentiated as follows: mercy is the act of withholding deserved punishment, while grace is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In His mercy, God does not give us the punishment we deserve, namely hell; while in His grace, God gives us the gift we do not deserve, namely heaven. Mercy and grace are two sides of a coin – and the coin is love.
God’s love. God’s mercy. God’s grace.
These are the things that have changed me.
The more I sinned, the more I needed God’s grace and mercy for the things I’d done wrong. I was learning I needed His love to guide me. I wasn’t on auto-pilot anymore simply following the commands of my abusers.
Ah, grace. It was my new found favorite thing.
What if I’d stayed that good Christian girl full of denial and anger? I needed no grace, because I wasn’t bad. I was so good that I accepted the abuse of everyone around me.
When I started living my own life, I made mistakes. I’ve been married four times, had affairs with married men, drank until the wee hours of the night, then sometimes woke up and did it all again.
Ah, yes, now I was living grace. And you know what, I haven’t been punished but blessed.