Grace

Posted: September 24, 2011 in Words

A few days ago I got a phone call from a close friend whom I had called earlier in the week about a favor. They were calling back to tell me they couldn’t do it and to explain why.

They said they wouldn’t help out because I had recently hurt them. And not just, “You borrowed ten bucks and never paid me back” kinda hurt. I had hurt them bad and deep. They said that it was difficult for them to even think about helping me out with this favor because of how let down they felt. I had failed them. They said that when they needed me most, I hadn’t been there for them.

And they were right.

I messed up. I fell short of their expectations and should have done things differently. Of course, there’s nothing I can do about it now, so I did all I could in that thirty minute phone conversation- I apologized. I admitted that I had messed up and I asked for forgiveness. Several times, I just got silent, and after hearing, “Are you still there?” could only reply with, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say.”

We wrapped up the conversation, I hung up the phone, and I started praying and thinking. I thought a lot about our conversation, but honestly I thought a lot more about my church. I thought about the congregation, and the individuals who attend. I thought about families and the relationships they share with each other. And I just thought about grace.

Yeah, I’m a pastor, but I don’t have it all together. I’m not perfect, and I let people down sometimes. But you know what? People let me down sometimes, too. I’m not trying to justify my shortcomings by saying, “Hey- I’m not the only one who does it!” I’m just pointing out the reality of the world we live in.

We mess up. We let each other down. We have days when we feel sad and lonely and we just wish somebody would call to check on us, and they never do. Some days are just terrible, lonely, sad and frustrating, and on those days, we’re tempted to start believing lies.

“I’m not worth their time.”

“Nobody cares enough to check on me.”

“They’re all a bunch of selfish jerks.”

But that’s not true. No, the truth is we’re all people with lives and schedules and families and baggage and struggles. We think about calling, but then we spill coffee or the baby needs changing or the phone rings, and we forget to call. We say we’ll pick up that thing on the way home, but the boss yells at us and it slips our mind and we walk in the front door without it. We say we’ll be there for your big event, but the game goes into overtime, and we don’t watch the clock, and we miss it.

And that’s why grace is so important- because at some point, we all need to be the recipients of it.

If you get your feelings hurt, and you hold a grudge and harbor bitterness, you will destroy friendships and relationships everywhere you go. If you allow satan (who I believe is real, and really hates your life and guts) to convince you to believe lies about your self-worth or the intentions of other people, you will destroy friendships and relationships everywhere you go. If you refuse to forgive those who fail you, if you constantly recall the ways they have let you down and you will not let go of disappointment, you will destroy friendships and relationships everywhere you go.

Grace doesn’t mean you didn’t get hurt. It means you love the person who hurt you in spite of what transpired. Grace is about the relationship’s potential, not its past. And if you really love the people in your life as much as you say you do, you will be incredibly, ridiculously, inexplicably, over-the-top gracious with them.

Simply defined, grace is the giving of something that isn’t deserved, and sometimes the thing that needs to be given is another chance.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below…

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Comments
  1. Joshua B says:

    Jared, I have been on both sides. I find I tend to want people to be my Jesus, you know …the one that never leaves or forsakes. It hits hard when they let me down but I tend to take it harder when I let them down. I want everyone to be my best friend. Thanks for your thoughts. I know it sounds cheesy but when I finished typing I will pray for reconciliation and abounding grace.

  2. Edwin Christian says:

    I agree with your comments and would like to add a few of my own if I may.

    We,as humans, wear our feelings on our shirt sleeves and get hurt entirely too easily. There is an answer to this, according to my grandfather, we need to follow the example we wish others to be. Sounds simple enough, but it is a lot harder to do than it sounds.

    We multi-task entirely too much! We can learn a lot from the animals we love so much as pets if we would take the time to actually watch them in their lives. They do one thing at a time and follow it through to the end before they begin another task. We think it is okay to attempt to do too many things and get lost trying to keep them all straight. Then end up doing less then a great job just to finish up.

    I never make a commitment unless I can complete it. A commitment is a promise to do something, both to the person you made it to and to yourself. I was disappointed earlier this year when Jared asked us to commit to writing a short post on each season and then he backed out because some of the people who committed failed to follow through. Those of us who did follow through were thrown to the wolves.

    Grace means to forgive others as God forgave you. The sins God forgave us for were by far greater than any sin someone could possible do against us. Grace also means we should forgive ourselves when we do wrong, if you can’t forgive yourself then how can you expect others to forgive you?

    Have a blessed day!

    E.

  3. Kelly says:

    Ouch-that hit home as I have said I forgive someone, but I also keep throwing their hurt back in their face. It sure wouldnt be pretty if Jesus did that to me.

  4. April says:

    Thanks for this post. To be honest, I’m a person that extends grace pretty freely, but there are a few people that have harmed me to a level that I have a hard time remembering that I forgave them. I do believe the lies, however, all too often. Thanks for reminding me that they are lies.

    I try to remember that we are all struggling. We never know what’s truly going on beneath the surface. I extend grace because I need it so badly.

  5. Cindy says:

    Looks like God is teaching us both a lot about grace. We need to show grace to others simply because of the incredible grace He has shown us. Grace does not make the hurt go away, or right a wrong but it the divine salve that will heal and restore our relationships. Oh to be a more graceful person……

    • Jared says:

      I’m reading Andy Stanley’s new book, “The Grace of God.” In it, he says, “When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything.” Divine salve, indeed.

  6. granna07 says:

    I’m sure you’ve seen this:

    G-God’s
    R-Riches
    A-At
    C-Christ’s
    E-Expense

    And, as always, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. Judy Hall says:

    Definitely hit me square in the gut with this one! Most definitely somethingI I needed to hear today. This has been a very rough year for my family and has not gotten much better yet. But I realize that mine is not the only family with issues. I need to be much more forgiving and much quicker to forgive. Thank you Jared, I needed this!

  8. “the truth is we’re all people with lives and schedules and families and baggage and struggles. We think about calling, but then we spill coffee or the baby needs changing or the phone rings, and we forget…”

    SO TRUE. I can relate to every bit of this. Thanks for putting it so well.

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