I have a confession to make. After years of walking with Jesus, and studying the Bible, I still struggle with extending grace.
Perhaps you can relate. It is one of the most challenging commands from God that I’ve had to follow. Yet, it seems that the more I pray, and ask for grace, the more opportunities God creates for me to practice and extend it.
This past week, we purchased a new cell phone for my mom. As you can imagine, she was very excited. However, the process was not nearly as exciting as the purchase itself. After two unsuccessful trips to the carrier store and hours of long conversations over the phone, all of the issues were finally “resolved” for my mom to receive this phone. The day finally came, and I moved my schedule around to make time for the delivery specialist, only to be told that issues still remained and my mom could not receive her new device. My patience dwindled as they rescheduled the phone delivery to another date. My mom was still without a phone to which she paid for.
I eventually learned that this entire frustrating process was due to simple human error on the carrier’s end. The most frustrating part of the process is that no one would claim responsibility and ownership for the issue. If you think I was ready to explode by this time, you are absolutely right! I called the carrier, and, as some would say, I “let them have it.” My time was wasted. I deserved better, and they deserved to hear how they created a terrible experience for myself and my mother… or, so I thought.
This was the moment when the Holy Spirit gently asked me to count all the “I’s” and “me’s” in my thoughts as I justified my reaction. On the surface, my thoughts were not wrong. I genuinely had a poor experience. Behind those justifications, however, was pride, and that made me believe that I deserved something better.
God faithfully started reminding me of His word and His truth at that moment — “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12 ESV). He started by reminding me to humble myself. Being the first sin in existence, pride continues to tempt us today, just as it tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Pride asks us to elevate our own value while decreasing the value of God’s Word. Pride forces us to place our own desires ahead of God’s commands.
He then reminded me to see others as Jesus sees them. I was operating out of my frustration which corrupted my ability to see others just as sinful and broken as I am. I held the carrier’s staff and delivery service to a standard that I could not be held to. I was not seeing them through Christ’s perspective but rather through my own plank-filled eyes.
Lastly, God reminded me not to withhold forgiveness. He reminded me of all the moments when I have messed up and, in vulnerability, have prayed that forgiveness and grace would fall upon me. Instead, I was withholding that same forgiveness simply because I saw those individuals as underserving.
After a few moments of repentance and prayer, God gave me the strength and humility to call back the representative and ask for his forgiveness. The long, angry letter that I had started writing to the regional manager of the phone carrier is still, unrelentingly, sitting in my drafts inbox. Yet God continues to tug at my heart. Jesus doesn’t tell us to ignore the ones causing us discontent, hurt, or persecution. Instead, He asks us to love those who “persecute” us. So, while it may be strange … and… perhaps unnecessary, the carrier will receive a fruit basket instead of an angry letter. We may not realize it at the moment, but as William J. Tom so wisely said, “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”
I invite you to walk with me as I humbly walk with Jesus to learn these truths and extend grace. Not for me. So He is glorified.
- Humble Yourself
- See Others As Jesus Sees Them
- Don’t Withhold forgiveness