I absolutely believe grace is unconditional, unlimited, and unstopping. It is the essential mark of dignity to love sacrificially, without question.
Yet — grace does not pamper, spoil, coddle, or enable. That would be a cheap grace. Real grace has wisdom and discernment and confrontational momentum. It confronts the hurt of sin and what we did. It doesn’t overlook the hurt you’ve been dealt: but plunges into the seriousness of our pain. The very fact that we need grace means there is a very real mess which needs both our compassion and conviction.
There are boundaries when someone abuses our generosity. Saying “no” doesn’t make you more selfish or less gracious. There are times when you need distance, or even as a last resort, to cut someone off. Saying “no” could be the best thing that you ever do for your friend, and for yourself.
Because grace is for you too. It’s unfair to punish yourself into loving someone. You can’t give away what you don’t have. And to show instant grace when you’ve been wronged actually cheapens what’s right and wrong. It is completely irresponsible to gloss over injustice.
Sometimes walking away from an abusive person is the most gracious thing you could do for them.
Sometimes withholding money or resources or your time is the only way to love that person.
Sometimes rebuke is exactly what they need. They have never known the beautiful kiss of discipline. They’ve never felt the healing power of straightforward truth. They’ve never known guidance and correction.
This is a tough line to straddle. But this is why grace requires thoughtfulness, it requires a surgical precision. The truly gracious person lives within this tension of tough and tender love. For each of us, this will look different: so we cannot compare where we draw those lines.
Of course, we always keep the door wide open. Our arms are ready to embrace. We don’t see in black-and-white. Everyone has a struggle, a story, a right to explain. But those same rights apply to you. You need your own space and room to breathe. We can recover, as long as it takes, before we’re back in the fray. Show grace for you, too.