How to extend Grace when you just don’t feel like it? Interesting concept for me today since I was just listening to Francis Chan talk about how Christians should be set apart. He quotes in his book, Crazy Love.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them and lend them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the most high because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, be merciful just as your father is merciful.
The point here is that yes, grace is a difficult subject to broach because it makes you think that you have to just lie down and let somebody walk all over you. However, the true nature of grace is so much more than just being a rug for people to constantly walk back and forth on. Giving grace when you don't feel like it is a true testament of your character and I'm not saying that it's going to be easy nor should it be easy at least to start. The reason for the difficulty, personal reflection can be rewarding, but difficult. Being in the mental health field, I help people realize that every single person has a story, every single person has a reason for why they do what they do. That doesn't mean that it won’t irritate you, it doesn't mean that it won’t hurt your feelings and it doesn't mean that it won’t make us angry, but for some reason each and every individual has the genetic makeup, has a personality or has some sort of mental health makeup that drives the way that he or she lives their lives.
Isn’t it easier to hold a grudge and to not let somebody back into your life? You might want to be angry with that person who cut you off while driving to work. Of course, it seems the easy thing to do because the truth is, it is easier to hate, to be angry with people and to think that they should or should not have done something. However, think of how many people have thought the exact same thoughts about you. It's the age-old adage “do unto others as you would like done to you”. Francis Chan continues to say is that, “true faith is loving a person after he has hurt you. True love makes you stand out”. True love includes grace, extending grace knowing that people have their faults and their flaws and they're going to act like mean people sometimes. You are going to act like a terrible person sometimes. Would you not give your own self grace? Should you give your own self grace, if you're not even giving your own self grace, I can imagine that it be difficult to extend grace to somebody else.
My recommendation is first and foremost, look at your own life. Are you giving yourself grace, do you know how to give yourself grace?
I can give you a little peace about this subject, it does become a little bit more second nature to extend grace, I do promise that. However, it doesn't mean that I don't struggle with extending grace. Sometimes I'm just plum irritated, but then I have to remember to put myself in their shoes. If I want them to extend grace to me, I should extend Grace to them. After a while you will begin to evaluate your relationships through the lens of grace, after all, God’s loving relationship is based off of His love and grace giving to us through Jesus Christ. I think we can do ourselves and God a solid by giving grace a chance.