Offer Grace


We all have them -- days when nothing goes right. Maybe we're tired. Maybe we're sick. Maybe something has gone horribly wrong at work or at home. Maybe we're simply overwhelmed.

On those days, we often don't react to others well. It's easy to see simple mistakes on the part of other people as things designed to trip us up. It's easy to lose our temper. It's easy to let the little things frustrate us.

On those days, we need grace. We need others to overlook our own frustration and mistakes. We need someone to give us a hug and remind us that this moment isn't going to last forever.

On those days, we don't need others to judge us. We don't need others to throw obstacles in our path or ask for more than we can give. We don't need someone to point out all the things we're doing wrong.

Yet when someone else is having a bad day, we're not always quick to offer that grace. I was reminded the other day that we often have no idea what's going on past the smile and the "I'm fine" of many of the people that we know. We're quick to judge others' actions but not quick to offer grace.

As a friend poured out her heart to me the other day, I was reminded that those who seem to have it all together on the outside may just be crying out for some grace on the inside. And a bad day or a bad attitude is often a symptom of something else happening in someone's life.

The truth is that we never know what's going on in someone else's world. We never know what hard things they're going through. We never know what lies beneath the surface. For that reason, grace should be our go-to reaction.

Because grace is God's go-to reaction. As often as we screw things up and choose not to follow the path God has laid out for us, it would be easy for God to throw up His hands and turn His back on us. But He doesn't. He offers grace. And He offers enough grace for us to have plenty left over to pour out on others. Too often, though, we choose not to pour out that grace. We choose to judge instead.

I wonder what the world would look like if we changed our go-to reaction to grace. I wonder what if:

What if we started with grace instead of judgment?

What if we looked for the hurt behind the action instead of focusing on our own reaction?

What if we taught our kids to offer grace rather than a knee-jerk reaction?

What if we really listened to each other?

What if we looked beyond the "I'm fine" to the hurting heart of the person beneath?

What if we spent more time looking for ways to help than focusing on how another person made us feel?

What if we offered forgiveness first?

What if we chose to love the unloveable?

What if we simply chose to follow God's command to "love one another as I have loved you"?

What if we set such a great example of how to love others that our kids followed in our footsteps?

What if doing these things began to change the world?