Applying Grace

I wrote this piece back in May, but never posted it. It never seemed quite complete, so I just hung onto it, letting it mellow in my mind until the right time…

She’s one of those difficult people. You know what I’m talking about. The kind that just seems to have it out for you for no good reason.  I can’t seem to make her happy. I end up just staying out of her way. I tell myself I’m not there to please her, and it really doesn’t matter. Let it slide, don’t fret about it. But…it bugs me. What is it about me? Is it even me? What is her problem? I want to be mad at her.

Love her like Jesus…

He tells me something hard. Something deep. How do I react? I pause before responding. I let it sink in and process the weight of what he’s saying. I can tell he’s holding his breath, waiting for me to say something. What’s he waiting for? Is he expecting anger? Resentment? Judgment? I let the seconds drag and think. This is big, and how I respond is crucial. I may not understand. But there is a balance in my hands. I have the ability to crush or uplift with one sentence.

Love him like Jesus…

She keeps pushing me away. Once a best friend, now less than a stranger. She won’t let me fix it. The more I try to reach out, the more she turns away. It hurts. I offended her, I know. I chose a path she couldn’t follow. I made choices in my life she couldn’t agree with. I chose a side she was against. And now I pay for it. I am given the silent treatment. When words are spoken, its as if years of friendship and sisterhood never existed. What can I do?

Love her like Jesus…

“You don’t need the answers
To all of Life’s questions,
Just know that He loves them
And stay by their side…
Love them like Jesus…”

(Casting Crowns, “Love Her Like Jesus”)

I’ve learned more since then. I’ve learned many more lessons about applying grace to the people in my life. Whether its choosing to not lash out at a sibling, or going through a painfully deep conversation with my boyfriend, or even just suppressing the desire to strangle that insanely difficult customer in the store I work at. It all centers around one thing. Grace.

We choose our reactions. We often say things like “He made me so mad!” and use that to justify our anger. But what might happen if we chose to react in a different way? Yes, we get angry, hurt, disappointed. We want to put up a fight and win it. Getting all fired up is easy. I know. Its easy to just boil over and lash out irrationally to whomever is causing the problem at the moment. Sometimes a little anger, better yet a little passion, is just, because in the right situation, it causes the other party to realize that you are serious and they need to pay attention. But in general, there’s a better reaction.

Just recently, I started really noticing how many instances I have on a daily basis to show grace to the people around me. It has amazed me. I can show grace to my siblings when they are being downright annoying. To the people that come into my workplace that try to give me a runaround about the job I’ve been trained to do. To the person that is in my life whether I like it or not. To basically any person that irritates me or that I, in any wise, just wish would disappear.

Kyle and I talk about this extensively. Mostly concerning each other. We watch other couples around us, particularly ones that are constantly in some sort of argument over one thing or another. In an odd way, it helps us to see examples like that, because it helps us to remember that, without showing each other grace and dealing with each other in grace, we would be in exactly the same position. I don’t see how any relationship can be entirely fulfilling if all that happens is arguing, bickering, nagging each other and putting each other down.

The other part of that conversation is the pure fact that we are human. We are going to let each other down, get irritated, have bad days, get sick and tired, and really just not feel like being graceful. We are not perfect, nor should we expect each other to be. We aren’t always going to remember to take a deep breath and think about our words and reactions. We are human and we are going to mess up. But its how we deal with it that makes the difference. Are we going to let it fester and grow? Are we going to hold it against each other for the rest of our lives? Are we going to lash out and make it worse?

I will not always understand the motive or reasoning behind a person’s actions or words. I won’t always understand why someone chooses to behave in a certain way. I don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes. I can’t control what other people do. All I can control is me. My actions and reactions. All I can understand is how I choose to behave and how I choose to treat that other person. I can make it worse. Or I can make it better. I can take a terrible situation and put a smile on that person’s face just by listening, loving, giving a hug and choosing to forgive. God has shown me more love and grace than I ever deserve. What else can I do except strive to show just a fraction of that love and grace to the people around me?

Like I said in the short piece I wrote in May; I hold a balance in my hands. With one word, I can uplift or tear down. What am I going to choose?



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