If grace is unmerited favor, I’ve benefited from a lot of grace in my life both from God and from other people. There have been plenty of times I’ve been spared a well-deserved tongue-lashing (or much, much worse). But when it comes to me giving grace to others…let’s just say I have plenty of room to grow.
I like to think it’s because I expect the best of people, so I hold them to a very high standard. If I’m honest, it has more to do with my critical, judgmental, and self-righteous nature. That guy who changed lanes in front of me without signalling (like I would never do) — where’s my grace toward him? The lady who cut me off to grab that parking space I was waiting for (OK, driving examples are way too easy) — where’s the grace toward her? How about the couple in the check-out lane ahead of me — I mean, really, couldn’t they pick up any products that had the prices already marked on them? And, of course, I criticize the store workers for not having prices marked properly to begin with. Even if they’re not aware of my wrath or grace, my own heart is further calloused or softened by my own response.
We’re called to the same passion for loving other people that Jesus demonstrated. But expressing that passionate love in the form of grace does not come easy for me.
Speaking of passion, never is it harder to extend grace than when we’re on a topic that I’m passionate about. Let me get up on my soapbox about something and you had better stand back; disagree with me and…well, let’s just say grace is an unlikely component of my response. Being harsh and critical comes so much easier than extending grace when I believe I’m right.
So I pray regularly for passionate grace and graceful passion. As hard as it is to imagine, I want to become known as a person characterized by grace. I also want to be passionate about the things God cares about. I’ve learned that I’m not capable of blending the two. So I can only ask God to create that blend within me.