Defining moments happen in all of our lives.
For Moses, it was a burning bush. For Peter, it was walking on water. For Paul, it was being blinded on the Damascus road. For me, it was in 1974. And just like these Bible characters, my defining moment changed the course of my life forever.
While growing up, I really was a good kid, but in high school I started hanging out with the wrong crowd instead of with kids who took their faith seriously. Over a period of time, I took on their values, habits, and lifestyle. I was doing a lot of things I shouldn't have—and one day it caught up with me.
I will never forget when I was 17 years old, and I sat at the dinner table with Dad, Mom, and my older brother. My dad confronted me with my mistake—or should I say the “sin”—I committed. I told my dad who I was involved with, owned up to my poor choice, and took responsibility for my bad decisions. Believe me, because of what I had been doing, I should have been disciplined for a year! I must have been crazy, therefore, when right after our “come-to-Jesus” meeting, I asked my dad if I could go out that night.
The next thing that happened changed my life forever...
My dad peered over the dining room table, looked me straight in my eye and said, “Hal, I believe in you. I believe you have what it takes. Just be in tonight by 11 o’clock.” Wow! The grace demonstrated by my dad changed me forever. It was my defining moment. It put my life on a trajectory and I have never been the same. Even as I type this devotion, tears are welling up because of the grace my dad showed me. Grace is unmerited favor, getting what you don’t deserve.
The old hymn we sing is so right: “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin.”
Have you experienced grace in your life? Have you extended grace to those who have hurt you? Can you let go of wrongs that have been done to you by your family, friends, or associates? The grace you extend may be a defining moment. It may change their lives and it may change yours—forever!