The other day I was driving down a main road in my town. As I was driving, the car in front of me started slowing down for absolutely no reason. I was irritated, got in the next lane over and started speeding past the car. When I passed the car and shot a look at the driver, I was surprised. One of my teenage students was the driver. I immediately started laughing. What was an moment of irritation became a funny story. Why was she slowing down in the middle of the road? She says it’s because she didn’t want to get a ticket.
This wasn’t a graceful moment of mine. In fact, in the moment I was completely unwilling to give a stranger grace. It was only once I knew who the driver was that I was willing to forgive them and move on. There are any number of reasons why someone could be slowing down on the road. Maybe they need to sneeze, or their child just got sick in the back seat.
The whole situation made me think a lot about giving grace. This is something I am personally working on. I fall back to an acronym I have learned:
Grace: God’s Resources Available to Christians Everywhere.
Grace is one of God’s perfect resources. We don’t need anything extra to give grace. All we need is love and a kind heart. Grace is something that has the capability to be given easily, but often isn’t. Why don’t I give grace more often?
To me, grace is God’s unconditional love given to us whether or not we deserve it. God gives us His righteousness in that we are completely acceptable as we are to stand before Him and be welcomed in His kingdom.
I am eager to receive God’s grace.
In fact, I may even take it for granted! Every day I make bigger mistakes than slowing down on a busy street. Every night when I spend time with God I am thankful for his unconditional love. The fact that I know he will offer me His grace and forgiveness is comforting.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t purposefully make mistakes and fall back on God’s unrelenting grace. But being able to ask for it whenever I want, and knowing that He will extend it willingly is inspiring. It inspires me to extend that kind of grace to others.
I am inspired to extend God’s grace to others.
Some days are easier than others. Some days I have more patience, I wake up in a better mood, and it is easier for me to see life through His vision. On difficult days, I challenge myself to extend grace to others who need it. Consequentially, extending grace has the capability to positively effect my mindset.
I also realize it all goes back to loving my neighbor as myself. In certain situations, I would want others to extend grace my way. I am not perfect. There are times when I say things in a way that I didn’t intend to, or I do things without thinking about the consequences. When someone extends grace to me in these times I am ever grateful. I want to be the kind of person who loves others as myself and extends grace willingly.
I hope that moving forward I don’t get as upset by someone slowing down traffic. There may be a good reason for it. I want to extend the same grace to strangers as I would to one of the students that I already love. The stranger and I can’t laugh about it later, but in that moment I have the potential to let them continue moving on with their day without getting an evil glare.
There is no limit to God’s grace, and in turn I should not limit my own grace toward others.