I am so stubborn (hi mom and dad I know you can agree with this). When things are going my way, when life is easy, when I face no challenges, I don’t struggle with this as much. BUT when I’m upset, when life gets hard, when friendships get tough, I don’t handle it well. The moment someone offends me, or when I mess up, I jump straight to bitterness rather than jumping to grace.
As I lean more on Jesus, I am constantly overwhelmed and overjoyed by the grace he gives me. I wish that when I’m fighting with a friend or someone hurts me, that I can automatically switch to the mindset of: I’m given the most AMAZING GRACE there is, so I should be extending that back. Most of the time, though, I don’t go there. I don’t extend grace to others like it is extended to me. My pride gets the best of me and I feel like if I let someone know I’m wrong, or just forgive someone’s wrongdoing right away that I’m not respecting myself, or that they “win”.
But when I take a step back, I can see that giving grace by no means results in a lack of respect for myself, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, it may take me pushing away my pride and humbling myself, but there is so much power in extending grace to others. Whether it’s forgiving a friend for something little they did that bugged you, or for something that deeply hurt you, you have so much power to impact people more positively than negatively. By doing this you are showing people the love of Jesus. Not only is that amazing, but that is what we are called to do as Christians.
This isn’t to say you won’t ever have conflict, or that you won’t ever have situations where you can’t even imagine extending grace. I urge you in these situations to try and pause before you jump to anger and bitterness. Avoid using harsh words, think before you speak, look at it from their side. If someone really hurts you, take a step back. Show grace by avoiding that situation until you know you can handle it right. Lastly, pray about it, tell God you are struggling and ask him to help you.
Even after spending time writing this post, I know I’m still going to mess up. I’m probably going to say something I don’t mean, or hold a grudge on something irrelevant, but I can be more aware of how I’m treating others, something I’m constantly trying to get better at.
When I’m questioning if I should say something or do something, these are the questions I have started asking myself:
- By doing this am I showing this person the love and grace of Jesus?
- Would this bring glory to God?
As much as asking myself this helps sometimes, I know there are situations where I answer no to both of those questions but still say or do it anyway. But!!!!!!! Moments like this are when I need others to give ME grace. I know they would be a lot more likely if I work on doing the same for them.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6