February 6, 2015

4 Ways to Give and Receive Grace

I am going through some rough times, incredibly rough. I must fight, each day, to keep up my hope and faith. My chronic medical condition causes me constant trauma. Right now, personal challenges are adding to the confusion.  To say that I am unable to accomplish all of my goals is an understatement. The truth is that I have never been through anything so difficult in my entire life—not for such a prolonged period, anyway.

So, what do I need? Would “constructive” criticism, advice, and judgment help? Any of those would probably make me retreat more into myself and make me even more mistake prone.

I need to give myself grace, and I hope to receive it from others. (This is the point at which I will ask for the prayers of any readers who are so inclined.) God shows us grace by overlooking/forgiving our sins. We also show ourselves, and others, grace by overlooking faults.  

I have four examples of situations in which we might need grace (I have changed the names of the people):

Sandy—I have known her for years. She is a kind, emotionally stable lady. She’s also a conscientious mother of a large family. Yet, she recently made some huge mistakes that led her down the road to divorce. It’s not my job to learn the precise reasons for her divorce and critique her. It’s my job to give her grace by accepting her for who she is; she still has many positive attributes.

Kristen—She’s an older lady who has poor eyesight. Also, she doesn’t have medical insurance to cover the cost of improving her eyesight. As a result of her poor vision, she doesn’t read much. I could censure her for not reading as often as I do, but that would be unreasonable. I need to show compassion for her limitation, not condemn her.  

John—He’s a friend who’s an author. In a recent blog post, he described the proliferation of a new kind of “troll” on social media. He says that this new kind of detractor has instituted a unique form of bullying: pointing out every spelling and grammar mistake on certain peoples’ posts.

Writing is not easy for anyone. It is always risky to put ones’ thoughts, feelings, and talent on display. Basically, it’s “performance”, the same as any “performing art”. In that case, is it constructive, or kind, to demean the efforts of someone who is writing to the best of their ability? 

If we turn that around, would we want someone to criticize every error in our writing? Some writers may not have the resources to educate themselves in spelling and grammar through no fault of their own. How is it right to denounce them   

Our Family and Co-Workers—The people with whom we interact the most are often those who “push our buttons”, if we allow them. We may find ourselves needing to overlook many irritations--from minor annoyances to major disagreements regarding lifestyles or values. Frankly, these are the people who are best suited to teach us the need for grace in everyone’s lives. That might sound empowering; in reality, it’s unbelievably difficult and humbling.

So, what’s the good news?

God gives all of us grace. In other words, he overlooks over faults. God’s power is most evident through our weakness. He often gives us the grace to become the strongest in our previously weak areas. He fills us with His own power/strength, which can turn our greatest failings into our greatest assets. (That’s another blog post!)

How have you been show grace?

No comments:

Post a Comment