Grace is such a funny thing. How much have I longed to be shown grace? How grateful have I been when I’ve been on the receiving end of heartfelt forgiveness when I’ve fallen short? Oh, if I could articulate how I’ve anxiously awaited the reaction of a friend when I know I’ve been wrong, and longed to hear an “it’s okay, we all make mistakes.” Because that is the truth. We do all make mistakes. We are all just going about this life thing the best way we know how, and that means that it gets messy and we sometimes do it wrong. Sometimes we hurt each other and we don’t even mean to. And, if we’re being honest, sometimes we mean to.
Here’s the thing about grace–it’s so much easier to receive than to give. I know my own intentions and boy do I know how to act like I deserve a pardon when I’ve been hurtful. So, how is it that I am so slow to pardon others when I’m the one who has been hurt? Can I really receive hurt and return grace? Can I forgive whole-hearted, as I am forgiven? Sometimes, more than I’d like to admit, the answer is no. More often, particularly lately, my response when I have been wronged is bitterness. Or, bitter’s good friend, withdrawal. If you can’t uphold the standard of never making a mistake that hurts me, then I guess you can’t stay. Is this really what I want to communicate?
I’ve been working through some things lately and this past week I was settling on bitterness rather than graciousness. Then, I came across Ann Voskamp’s beautiful http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/07/the-great-challenge-facing-all-women-why-women-need-to-stop-judging-each-other/. The context is a little different from what I’d been thinking on–mothers judgment of each other–but these words stuck out to me:
Heaven forbid any woman would set up her life as a standard instead of making grace the standard of her life.
Here I am, with bitterness as my life’s standard, asking others to choose grace for me when I ask.
Let’s walk together grace-fully, shall we?