The Sunday School class I am in has been using the Philip Yancy book “What’s So Amazing About Grace” as our discussion/lesson guide. While I love Yancy’s writing direct, no-punches-pulled writing style, his subject matter is tough to deal with.
Grace goes against our human nature. When we are wronged, everything in us screams for justice. We want the offender to pay and pay big! But when we offend or hurt another, we desperately seek compassion, understanding and justice. For me, the “secret” is a matter of perspective.
Disclaimer – there are times when others hurt us so often and so severely that we must make the wise choice to set boundaries with that particular person. But this isn’t about those moments.
I can be thoughtless and uncaring. My reasons for those behaviors may be valid – tired, sick, overworked, stressed from the demands of work or others, etc. and I sincerely want others to be understanding and gracious with me when I’m having one of “those” days.
But what is my first assumption when someone else treats me in a thoughtless, uncaring manner? Do I assume that they are simply having a bad day and extend them the understanding and grace I want in those moments? I wish I could say an adamant yes. I wish I could tell you that I’m the walking definition of compassion. Truth is, I tend to take it personally. I don’t want to be understanding or caring. I want to make them pay.
My goal is a simple one – to give others the benefit of the doubt, to learn the skill of taking a deep breath and extending grace. It’s not going to be easy and I’m not even really sure what that looks like but I’m going to work on it!