I love the Scripture, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God" (Ephesians 2:8). Grace. It did not cost me anything, but it cost God the price tag of His Son. "For God so loved he gave ..." (John 3:16). Grace is not cheap.
The challenge is for most people that they need grace, but they don't know how to extend grace. I struggle with this from time to time, but I have had to learn how to be more gracious. For many religious I was the religious person who "pick and popped" everyone else's failures and flaws. Why? It made me feel better about myself. But the more I needed grace, the more I began to give grace. Now, I am not perfect, but I am progressing.
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner ... and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Grace will cost your reputation.
You will face criticism when you extend grace to the people God brings in your life. Not everyone is going to understand why you give people second, third, and twenty chances. But your reputation is not as an important as their restoration. It is bigger than people's perspective of you. The Bible declares, "... God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Grace will cost your time.
It takes time for people to process through poor decisions, lack of accountability, or sinful choices. Very few people change overnight - they change over-time. And followers of Christ understand that they will have to work with people to see "... the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image" (2 Corinthians 3:18). More and more like him is a process. When people fail or fall it will be a process of restoration. Restoration is the act of returning something to its former condition. That takes time.
Grace will cost your pride.
I have learned the harsh reality of this principle. I have always led with grace because I have been the recipient of much grace. But as you extend grace to people you will be attacked, criticized, and face opposition. Most believers don't understand grace they simply want it for themselves. Grace does not mean you ignore what people have done - it simply means you choose to look beyond where someone is to where they can be. That is going to cost your pride. I have been hit on social media for extending grace to pastors, leaders, and people. But I choose grace because it is my priority and that's more important than my pride.
Grace will cost your opinion.
Everybody's got an opinion. I have my opinion of what my friends have done. But my opinion is not more important than God's grace. Several years ago I had a friend who was a high profile pastor who had a very public moral failure. It was devastating to his church. But I never stopped texting and messaging them encouragement, prayers, and grace. I remember watching their first sermon after a process of restoration and I cried. It was so powerful. My opinion was anger, because what they did was wrong. I had to pay the price of my opinion for me to celebrate God's grace in someones life. He told me years later how much those messages meant to him. His restoration was more important than my opinion.
Grace will cost your relationships.
There are some people that will not be able to accept the grace you give to others. They will demand justice, retribution, and more. However, all of those things are God's responsibility. It is not my job to change the human heart, but to soften it by giving grace. As a pastor for 27 years I have given grace to a wide variety of people in the churches I have worked at, but God has also allowed me the honor of giving grace to fallen preachers. Giving grace to people in my church has cost little-to-no relationships, but giving grace to pastors has cost more friendships than I could admit. But it will not stop me.
Scripture declares, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need" (Proverbs 17:17). Grace is not seen on the mountain as much as it is seen in the valley. I want to give all the grace I can because God gave all the grace I needed.
"Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see."