Grace or Grumpy?7:30 AM
There was a little boy whose name will remain anonymous and a big sister who would like to remain so as well. He was two years old and at the stage in life where he didn’t quite get that life was not all about making messes. The other characters in our story is the foot-tall canister of powdered hot chocolate and the Kirby vacuum cleaner.
Long story short, the sister hears a crash and a bang and the cause of that crash and bang is the foot-tall canister of hot chocolate falling from the pantry to the kitchen floor and the cause of the foot-tall canister of hot chocolate falling from the pantry to the kitchen floor is the two-year-old boy, who is sitting in fuzzy pajamas on a pile of powdered hot cocoa. And he is eating by the handful that very same pile of powdered hot cocoa.
And the sister is faced with a choice: freak out, scold that baby till he cries and moan to high heaven—or start the tub running, put the baby in without a murmur and make a bathtub full of hot chocolate. I am happy to tell you that the sister chose the latter and that the Kirby vacuum cleaner did not break after thirty minutes of hard work.
She had a choice: to let his faults get under her skin and ruin her peace or to show grace in the face of an accident. She had a choice to follow her own selfishness or to obey the command of Jesus given three times in the span of three chapters: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”; “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”; “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
The Christian should be marked by his love for others—a love that mirrors the love we have been shown. Much of the love the Father gives to us is called grace—an unmerited gift we receive because He is a gracious God, not because we are perfect human beings.
We need to extend that grace to others, as a love-offering back the one who first showed us grace. There is nothing anyone can do to us that comes close to the offense we have delivered to God—and yet we are so stingy in giving out grace to others.
You may not naturally love a person and may not naturally want to be super kind and gracious to them, but love is not primarily a feeling—it is a discipline. And since it is a discipline, there are a few ways to learn the discipline of grace:
We can give the benefit of the doubt. Most people don’t go around intentionally hurting us. It is a mature and gracious thing to think the best of people and not flip out if they mess up or hurt our feelings. Another way of putting this is to think of them as innocent until proven guilty. Love thinks the best of people. And we need that same grace ourselves.
We can differentiate between an annoying accident and true sin. Most of the things we do freak out over and hold grudges about aren’t sins. They’re just minor inconveniences. The last time I yelled at my siblings was not because they had sinned against me—it was because they had accidentally bumped into me or ripped something or just were flat out annoying. A two-year-old dumping hot cocoa mix on the floor because he doesn’t know any better is not a sin—it does not need to be reacted to with anger.
And finally, we can live daily in the joy and freedom of God’s grace. He does not demand perfection from us—that is why Christ died on our behalf. When we start to grasp that truth, we will be more willing to share that grace with others—a grace that covers up a multitude of sins.
*This was a little talk I gave to our home school drama group.*