How about a Little Grace?

How about a Little Grace?

Amidst all of the clamors and cries these days for justice for this person and justice for that person, I just want to put in a plug today for a little bit of grace.  Among the zealots of every stripe the cry goes up, “Justice!! Justice!!”.  The truth is that the truth is elusive.  “Now I see dimly, as through a glass.  But one day I will see face-to-face.”  Someday, we will all know the truth.  But someday is probably not today.  Today what we know is only what our perception allows us to see…what our human limitations allow us to see.  And justice requires truth…so the justice we clamor for is going to be problematic.  I don’t think the world needs more justice.  I think the world needs more grace.

So, today when someone cuts me off in traffic, instead of swearing and praying that that person gets their comeuppance, I am going to remember that that person is someone’s mother or grandfather or cherished child.  And I am going to think about how I would feel if someone screamed obscenities at my elderly mother or tried to run my son or daughter off the road.   And I am going to try to remember all the times that I have made a driving error that should have cost someone their life and didn’t.  And I am going to offer grace. I am going to offer a prayer of blessing for that not-so-awesome driver.

Today, when I pull up to the drive-thru window at McDonald’s and I get my McDouble with onions even though I ordered it without onions, I am going to try to remember how awful I was at my first job and how my boss was patient with me and I learned and I got better.  I am going to remember how many things I’ve screwed up at work over the years…and even just today. I am going to remember that I have never had an easy job.  I am going to remember that if I worked at McDonalds, how grateful I would be to even have a job and how much I’d need that job to put food on my family’s table.  I am going to remember what it’s like to have a job that so many people think is beneath them…what it’s like to work at a job that is actually hard where people think they get a free shot to insult you because you work there and they think that their job is so much more important than yours.  And I am going to give grace instead of demanding justice from the manager for the error that that employee made.  I am going to offer a prayer of blessing on that employee that God might remind that employee of how proud God is of them for taking the hard way and working a legitimate job instead of selling dope to make money.  There’s enough justice today.  There’s nowhere near enough grace.

Today, when somebody loses their temper with me…though probably not with me at all, but with their circumstances…I am going to remember every word that I have said that I wish I could have back.  Instead of spending my time today thinking of a snappy comeback to be sure I get the upper hand and justice for the sleight, I am going to spend my time thinking of the times that my words have cut someone.  And, instead of justice, I got grace.  Grace.  Crazy grace.  I am going to give people to God today.  I am going to think about what I don’t know about them, instead of just the behavior that is in front of me.  I am going to remember that if I thought what they thought, I’d probably lose my temper, too.  And then…I would need grace.  There’s enough justice in the world today.  Imperfect justice.  There’s nowhere near enough grace.

Today, I am going to remember that if I got the job I deserved, I wouldn’t have a job.  If my friends treated me the way I deserved to be treated, they would have turned their backs on me long ago.  If I got the wife I deserved, I wouldn’t have a wife at all.  If I got the life I deserved…if I got justice in my life…I would be living up underneath a bridge huddled around a little fire I probably don’t deserve either. In fact, I would probably be dead.  For some strange reason that I do not understand at all, I have received grace from God.  Instead of justice, I have received blessings beyond measure.  No idea why, but I am grateful.  So, today, I am going to give a little grace back and see what kind of a world that creates. Maybe something I didn’t even see will get healed today. I’ll probably screw this up, too.  And then…I’ll need grace.

If I can find the heart to give grace in the little things today, maybe I can find a way to give grace in the big things, too. Maybe.  Easy for me to say.  I guess we’ll see.  In the meantime, let’s see how much grace I can give in the little things that come my way.

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7 Comments »

  1. Lara Said:

    True enough that there’s not enough grace (given by us, that is). But don’t decide so easily that there is enough justice going around, either. Remember how justice shoudl be defined. Is getting a fresh burger without onions at the expense of humiliating a drive-through clerk and wasting a perfectly good burger justice for you? No. It is good to forgo that. What is just is making sure that the drive-through clerk at the McDonald’s is getting a fair wage, earning enough to put food on his family’s table, and being treated with respect. Too often, there’s not enough of that justice going around. Is cutting off the person who cut you off on the road, so that you’re “even”, justice for you? No. It is good to forgo that. What is just is ensuring that all people have equal opportunity to be safe on the streets, in their cars, and in their neighborhoods, no matter what neighborhood they live in and no matter what car with what fancy safety features they are able to afford. Too often, there is not enough of that justice going around. Micah enjoined us to “do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.” Those three things cannot be done on their own. They belong together. That we have them when we do not deserve them – that is grace.

    • Well said! Thank you! And I could use a little grace for my oversight even though I don’t really deserve it 😉

    • I was re-reading your reply here, and I am SO GRATEFUL for the conversation!! You mentioned the idea of how “justice should be defined”. You really got me thinking. I struggle a lot with the distance between the world that should be and the world that actually is. It isn’t God’s justice that there is enough of…and I think God’s justice is very different that what we experience at “justice” in the world. In the world that is instead of the one that should be, I think “justice” and “vengeance” are synonyms. What do you think? How do you make sense of the gap between what should be and even could be, and what actually is?

      • Lara Said:

        The difference between God’s justice and our justice is simply human sinfulness. We’re not there yet. The cross and the empty tomb opened the way to redemption of all creation, and that redemption is in progress. It has begun. It is not yet fulfilled. The distance between the world that should be and the world that actually is – that’s the distance between “Christ has risen” and “Christ will come again.” It is frustrating for me, too. I’m a “new heavens and new earth” kind of person. I can’t wait. The challenge now is that to a certain extent, we are called to live as if we were in the new heavens and the new earth. We are called to act justly – God’s justice, not our imperfect justice that – you’re right – too often looks more like vengeance. We are called to love one another and to live out that love in the ways we seek justice. We are called to live in the “already-not yet” by loving one another as if we were already there, and fighting injustice and healing brokenness in recognition that we are not there yet – setting the stage in the best way we know how. I “make sense” of the gap between what should and could be, and what actually is, by working to bridge it. That’s all I know to do.

  2. Working to bridge it! AWESOME!

  3. Mary Said:

    JUSTICE In GRACE …..GRACE IS CHARACTER OF TRUE GODLY…CHRISt tells,,, ‘FORGIVE FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO’…


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