The Case for Grace

shutterstock_272544824-1024x683.jpg

Life is messy. At best, it can be a series of joyful pit stops and at its worst, it can leave you feeling like the credits just rolled on a lengthy movie and you are absolutely confused and perplexed about the ending.

The world we live in today seems like a series of unfortunate, scary, rapidly hopeless, alarming events. The political landscape alone has you scratching your head on the latest most offensive Facebook post. It’s as if good sense has exited stage left and has been replaced with reactive, explosive, angry words and actions.

In what feels like a cacophony of crazy, what are we to do?

I’ve had my share of bumps and bruises in life. The kind where you find yourself navigating it with absolutely no clue of how you are going to make it to the end of the day. The kind of challenges where white knuckling it is the only plausible strategy and you just keep moving fast enough so that nobody recognizes that you are barely holding on. I wake up many days, feeling like I’m navigating life with no steering wheel.

For many years I tried to avoid the bumps and bruises of life completely. Not only was this impossible, it taught me nothing about myself. Well, that is not entirely true. It actually taught me undesirable things like overkilling the need to be “perfect”, spewing my unsolicited expectations on to others, criticizing what I didn’t understand, and politely judging people with a religious backhand to the face.  

 It was an exhausting and costly existence.

While I am still a perpetual work in progress, over the last few years I’ve adopted a new approach to life. I’ve put away my well written three, five and ten year plans, started using my bible as an invitation versus a weapon, and started meeting people where they are instead of trying to get them to get on my own personal train of self-righteousness.

I started extending some grace.

Grace can be defined in many ways, but the one I like most is, “to do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence”.

The best way to extend grace to others is to start with yourself. The ability to cut yourself some slack opens up the world of grace to others. Don’t be caught up in your mistakes, and unmet expectations- it can get so lonely there. I encourage you to try on a little grace for a change. Grace is powerful, restorative and grand.

It allows me to actually gather every bump and bruise in my life and admire it. The collection of my personal mistakes, bad choices, behavior toward people, and quick ability to judge someone who doesn’t look like me, sound like me, or value the same things as I do, is now replaced with this thing called grace.

It’s that stuff I believe God heaps on us even though we don’t exactly deserve it.

Grace will get us further than criticism and fear ever will. Instead of arguing over which lives matter, who is at fault, who should be allowed to get married, what is acceptable or not, and who is going to take America back, why not take that same energy and extend some grace? What if we just started honoring people for having the courage to show up and live their lives, and respect the effort in doing so?

It only takes a little grace to build a bridge of understanding, a mountain of mutual respect, and forge some much needed forgiveness. As a recipient of grace, I can say that it only motivates me to extend more of it.

When the credits on this screenplay we call life, let’s all be able to say we extended a little more grace.