Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Selfish Grace

Earlier this fall I was dealing with a situation that was really bugging me. Someone who we pay to provide us with a service is continually changing her schedule which in turn changes mine.   I don’t like that.  There are times when people step on my toes, inconvenience me, deceive me and it really gets under my skin.  Especially because I try to be considerate of people and their feelings.  Why aren’t people considerate back?  I get all frustrated and go into profuse detail about how inconvenienced I am.  I get angry that my rights and feelings aren’t first in other people’s plans.

I was ranting to Mike about this specific situation one night. My husband asked me why I couldn’t be gracious.  I obviously could not because she wasn’t being gracious to me!  And I stomped my foot.  He raised his eyebrow and I knew he was right.  That’s not exactly how grace works.  It’s not a bargain or a political strategy. 

Grace is undeserved favor.  God is quite literally the king of Grace.  He sacrificed everything to save me.  I really can’t imagine anyone else on this earth in need of more grace than me.  I am quick tempered and passionate, for I am a natural red head!  I want things done the right way – my way, right away.

So if God shows grace to me in all my imperfection,  is it really too much for me to show grace to someone that keeps changing their schedule?  Is it really a big deal to readjust my life a little or a lot?  Is my schedule more important this person and our relationship?  Absolutely not.

Grace doesn’t entail being a doormat.  I’m learning that grace doesn’t mean never stating your case.  It doesn’t mean biting your tongue and smiling demurely through gritted teeth. I calmly explained our needs and view of the situation.  Now we are on the same page and things are worked out.  But usually, I can flex. I was able to let God take care of the annoyance and anger and replace it with love.

As I watch my kids grow and learn to interact and deal with others, I want them to have a good grasp of grace.  Not just being kind, not just doing the right thing, but choosing to be gracious because of the graciousness of God.  They are not going to learn it naturally in this world (or from their mother unfortunately).  People here would rather hate members of their own family than back down.  Is that any way to live?

This week I had to make a quick call to this person. It was so great to have no tension or animosity between us.  I’m not a slave to my negative feelings about her. It was freeing to ask “how are you doing?” and actually care.  It’s not demeaning, it’s liberating.  When grace reigns, freedom prevails. 


Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.


Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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