The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up. May Sarton*
I want to thank Joe for sending in the excellent quote above. It refers to “the flow of life” which I think is an accurate way to portray Grace Turned Outward. God extends His grace to us. Once received, we, by definition of what grace is and does, extend it out to everyone we know. It’s the way it flows.
Grace received becomes grace given. It has to. It’s the flow of life. Grace turned inward is grace misunderstood. We might call it grace, but if it doesn’t pour
out to those around us, it is a poor imitation of grace. “It is as though the flow of life were backed up.”
Once you receive grace it alters you. You become a different person. You have to want to share it. The minute I understood God’s grace to me, it was everything I could do to keep from running up to every person I met and hugging them. It wouldn’t have been appropriate in the context, but it was genuinely what I wanted to do. Like I‘d suddenly joined the human race. If God loves me in spite of myself, He must love everybody the same way. We’re all in this together. That’s the way grace flows. It flows in us, through us, and out to those within our reach.
And it is powerful. The Kern River in California is quite powerful right now because of the large snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that is now melting off. Seven people have drowned in the river so far this year — over twice the annual average — overcome by its force. I have stood next to it and felt it and heard it and it is an awesome amount of water surging. The grace of God is like that. It takes over. It wipes out everything in its path (I’m thinking of sin and sorrow here), and it flows on to accomplish what it sets out to do.
The flow of God’s grace is irreversible and unstoppable. If it’s backing up or stagnant, it is something other than the grace God.