This week I’m going to blog five days about five gifts that find their way into five dares. First, let’s talk about gifts—the real kind.

Last week my love and wife Shauna enjoyed a trip to the Dominican Republic with a close friend. Halfway through the week, she Facebooked me a message, saying, “Today is beach, beach walking, beach, looking for shells for some wonderful man i know…”

That’d be me.

And the moment I read the message, I also received the gift. What gift? The message? The shells?

No. Looking for the shells? No, not that either.

The real gift was this: While Shauna meandered down a pristine sliver of sand half a world away, I was on her mind. The gift was that a shell would catch her eye and she’d stop, bend down, and scoop it up, thinking, “Brad would love this one.” Wonderful woman that she is, she also bought me a necklace, a bracelet, some Dominican honey, stuff like that. Very cool stuff. But honestly? She had me at “looking for shells for some wonderful man i know.”

True gifts, you see, aren’t physical. They’re emotional, personal, relational, spiritual, powerful, sacrificial. Which is why the most powerful gift you could ever give anyone…

is grace.

Grace big enough to embrace imperfections. Grace deep enough to swallow wounding. Grace high enough to point to Jesus. Grace wide enough to grant patience enough for each day.

It’s the most important gift we’ll ever give because it’s the most costly gift we’ll ever give. To forgive means to let go, to wipe the slate clean, to allow Jesus to come and lift the anger we feel justified nursing, to purge the bitterness and bile we’d rather nurture in the petrie dish of our soul than flush down the toilet where it belongs. Grace is leaving justice to God, recognizing that while Jesus paid for the sin between the two of them, I must absorb the cost between the offender and myself.

There is no more powerful way to ascribe dignity and worth to another human being than to extend them grace. The risk is terrifying, because grace is often refused, often abused. The moment I try to attach a string, it’s not grace. False grace creates marionettes out of the people who “owe” us for our act of forgiveness, while true grace cuts them loose, truly and completely releasing their fate to the wisdom of God.

Now for the dare.

Someone needs grace in your life… from you. Who needs it most? Deserves it the least? Needs the most work? That’s your person. Your mission. And the dare is simple. Walk deeper into Jesus, take his hand—and then unleash heaven on the one whom God has selected.

I dare you.

And tell us your story!

Tomorrow: Day #2. Gift #2. Dare #2.