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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Grace means...

never having to say you're sorry. No, wait -- grace means always doing what is in another’s best interest. Maybe that’s too simplistic, but really, is the Golden Rule too simplistic? Actually, in terms of grace, the golden rule falls short. We don't always know what’s in our own best interest, that's why we need the grace of God!

Neither is grace always...graceful. Sometimes it takes a good whack upside the head (or worse) to get our attention. Does this mean grace = violence? It may seem violent, but there’s the rub: God (and grace) doesn’t always tiptoe through the tulips. This does not mean we exercise grace by being violent in a damaging sense, of course, but we may need to apply the rub...sort of like the Holy Spirit.

Other times, grace surely means being gentle. It's way too easy to offer, if not an eye for an eye, tit for tat. It’s easy to get caught up in the tone of a discussion and jump in by responding in kind. But obviously this invites trouble. A person may come off sounding combative even when trying not to, depending on the disposition (or personality) of the hearer.

Which brings me to benefit of the doubt...wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone withheld judgement regarding another’s intent before due process could be taken? Many disagreements would no doubt seem way less polar if only the parties involved bothered to try to truly understand one another. OK, now I sound like Rodney King, but I mean really understand one another, not just one another’s position. In such a spirit, disagreements could be more clearly apprehended and evaluated within a larger context.

This is cliche but still worth considering: what do people need? What do they want? People want and need to be appreciated, admired, respected, loved. In a manner appropriate to the relationship, of course. Different people gain their sense of these things in different ways (think Gary Chapman’s love languages). When observing someone’s behavior and speech, it's useful to look past the outward to discern what’s going on inwardly. One can look for clues as to what makes that person tick. With such insight, it's possible to meet a person where they are by adapting the way we relate.

But what about “impossible” people? Do the grace rules apply to them? Of course they do...with the ante upped. Grace gets firm, grace perseveres, grace keeps being a respecter of personhood (my area of weakness). Grace keeps being gracious – I Corinthians 13:4-7. Oh that I would abide in such a state of humility, being ever mindful of the price of my own redemption.


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