Thursday, March 4, 2010

Randomness about Grace

I watched the Olympics for the last 2 weeks. I enjoy watching figure skating and ice dancing. The 2010 Winter Games did not disappoint and had all the talent, excitement, and drama a spectator could want. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”!

During one of the skating events the commentator explained what the judges were looking for in terms of scoring one of the elements of the program, the jumps. A “clean” landing is crucial on a jump in order to receive maximum points for that jump. He said… the judges will review the videotape and if there is any doubt as to whether or not the jump was landed cleanly, the judges give the maximum points to the skater. In other words, the judges err on the side of skater. This made me start thinking about grace and how God extends His grace to us. Should we also choose to err on the side of grace? I’m glad you asked, can we talk?! 
Many of us know that we do not get “do overs” (Some people still think they do). Once we have done something or said something that may hurt someone else it is out there. The damage is done and we cannot take it back. The person we hurt does not get the chance to review our videotape to determine what we really meant to say, what our intentions really were, or what we really meant to do. In that moment, they (We) have a choice. We can choose to respond in anger and retaliate or we can choose to err on the side of grace.
In our relationships, on our jobs, and in all of our interactions with others (our jumps in life) we will not always have clean landings. We may say and do things that we do not mean, but the behavior was the only arsenal and ammunition we were carrying at the time (our unresolved stuff). Our intention may have not been to offend another, but because of their unresolved past, baggage, and issues something we said or did “felt” offensive. In those moments of regret, most of us want to experience grace (We want that elusive do-over).

The best we can hope for is the person that we offended is willing to forgive us, extending grace. We cannot take it back and they cannot pretend as if it did not happen. God also extends us His grace when our landings are not clean. In fact, He extends His grace in abundance. In the 6th chapter of Romans, Paul asks the question should we sin more because grace is available to us. No, we should not. Likewise we should not take advantage of the grace extended to us by those we have hurt or offended.

So I had some random thoughts about grace…

Hold your tongue! If you have the chance to retaliate with words or walk in humility, choose to take the high road and hold your tongue.

Err of the side of grace! Grace always prevails!

(Like an Olympic athlete) Practice your “jumps” and make your best attempt at “clean landings”. Be transformed by renewing your mind.

We are all in different places on this faith journey; we have to meet people where they are.

Grace is not a 50/50 agreement. It often means giving more than 50%. You cannot meet a person half way when you extend grace. Go the extra mile.

We are all unique. God designed us that way. Embrace the differences and uniqueness of others.

Do not always look to assign blame. Blame leaves no room for grace. Sometimes things happen, simply things happen. Stop looking for a scapegoat!

Do not keep score or tally of the wrongs you have experienced.

Extending grace does not come naturally to most of us. Look for opportunities to extend grace. You will surprise the person AND surprise yourself.

You never know what other people are going through and dealing with in their lives. Very often, their behavior and bad attitude is NOT ABOUT YOU. Do not personalize everything.

Do not use your humanity as an excuse for your insanity. “I am only human”. Seriously?!

Grace is a gift. Do we keep gifts or do we give them away?

Feel free to add your own random thoughts about grace by leaving a comment. Until next time...