It's the days when you've said things you regret. The days when things just came out wrong. The days when you did something you wish you could take back. It's the days when people hold back from giving grace to you when you need it most.
That's the thing about God.
Grace is always there for the taking. As people, we can be more stingy with grace than God. I know this from experience, unfortunately. It's amazing how hard it can be to even extend grace to people who cut you off on the freeway. But it is.
I feel like I've made mistakes this week. Moments when I've needed grace. Again, that's the thing about God. He offers grace faster than anyone I know. He's always reaching out to help us back up. It reminds me of Lincoln. He still stumbles as he walks. There are days when he's still not too sure on his feet. He needs to hold my hand to steady him.
I don't know how quick I am to offer grace, but I know it's something I want to be better at. I know it's not easy. Even for small things, much less big grievances. Who do you know that offers grace and forgiveness to you freely and quickly? Two people come to my mind:
My mom and dad.
I've probably frustrated my parents a million times. I'm sure there were days when I disappointed them. I'm sure there were moments when I said something they didn't like.
You know what? I can only remember a handful of those times clearly. My mom doesn't hold grudges against her kids. (My dad either.) I've never asked her why, but now that I have kids of my own, I think I know. It's because . . .
The relationship is more important than the offense.
Isn't it? If you have a child, isn't that relationship more important to you than anything else? (I should say that I don't believe grace always takes away consequences. It just comes alongside them.) I suppose it depends on the offense in some cases. How serious. How hurtful. How deep. But there is no love like the love of a parent and a child. So it can cover a lot. Maybe not everything. But a lot. As parents, we become experts in giving grace to our kids. Some days we're better at this than others, but it's always in front of us. We're always being stretched in this way.
What about grace for each other? I want to be the friend who gives grace to the people in her life. I want to be the stranger who forgives and moves on. Even typing that challenges me because I know it will take work in my daily life.
Are you a grace-giver? To your children? To your spouse? To every person around you?
It's comforting to know that even if we struggle in this area, God is there, giving grace to us. Showing us what kind of people we need to be.
We're trying to teach Ash about forgiveness. So it comes up in conversation even about little things. She brings it up all the time. Yesterday I told her I'd get her juice and then I forgot because I was busy feeding Lincoln. Ash reminds me about the juice and I jump up and say, "Oh right! Sorry! I said I'd get that for you." Her reply: "I forgive you, Mommy." I stopped for a moment and smiled. It wasn't a great offense, of course. But I loved that she was offering forgiveness for it.
I got frustrated with Ash later when she wouldn't mind. While I'm still there huffing and puffing over it, Ash says, "Do you forgive me?"
The huffing and puffing ceased. In that moment, forgiveness came quickly. Not always. But it did right then. Why?
Because it's my job to show her what grace looks like.
Be a grace-giver today. Maybe you've failed this week like I feel that I have. Accept God's grace and pour it out on everyone around you. Be that parent, spouse, friend, stranger who loves the people around you without needing so much in return.
1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply. Love covers a multitude of sins."