My nine-year-old daughter came running. Tears filled her eyes as she ran and wrapped her arms around me. What could possibly be wrong? She had been happily playing at the playground just moments before.
After she calmed down, I got the scoop. Two other kids were playing on the playground, too. My daughter had apparently tried to play where they were and they proceeded to call her names and tell her to leave. My first instinct as a mom was to go take care of those sweet children as only a mother could. I calmed down, though, and found they had mothers of their own who could handle things quite well without my help.
They apologized, but my daughter still had tears. Their words were hurtful and mean, and completely unnecessary. As adults, we run into it to – thoughtless words out of the mouths of unloving people. Talking to my daughter, I had to explain that people say all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. We know it to be true. Some people have been hurt by others, same say things out of fear or insecurity, and some simply may not know Jesus.
Our challenge is to give them grace. Not so we can be hurt again, but so we don’t hang on to the hurt and anger that can come with it. We know to give grace to others and try to teach our children to do the same.
I have found, though, that there is something more challenging at times than giving grace others. The bigger challenge for me can be to give grace to myself. Sometimes I am that kid on the playground and say unkind things, or I can know God has asked me to do something and I just don’t do it, or . . . well, I could go on and on. I mess up, many times a day, and at times they are doozys. What do I do with them? I replay them over and over again and feel horrible every time. Even after I have taken it to Jesus and truly repented, I still wallow in it.
As we talk about giving again this time of year, God has challenged me not only to give love and hope through my words and actions, but to also give grace. In hurried times, give grace. In moments that are difficult and hard, give grace. In instances we really don’t understand, give grace.
Then take it one step further and extend grace to myself. When I don’t meet my own expectations, wish I did something differently, or let something not-so-pretty in my heart come out of my mouth, I need to extend grace to myself as well.
Thankfully, God continues to extend His grace. May we let it wash over us and pour out in love to others. This season give grace – a most precious gift.
1. What instances are most difficult for you to extend grace?
2. Do you find it more challenging to give grace to others or to yourself? Why?
3. What are some of the most precious gifts you have received?