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Giving grace to others has never been my strong suit in the natural! I admit, sometimes extending grace is not even my strong suit as I walk with the Lord! So let me start off by introducing myself….
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Hi, I am that crazy New Yorker who gets aggravated by everyone on the road and wishes you all stayed home. Yeah, THAT one! Nice to meet you!
No really, I grew up in New York and learned to drive there and this was BEFORE I was saved, so I am not 100% sure my driving is saved yet! But that is for another post.
Giving Grace to Others – Y’all Are Testing My Patience!
I am firmly convinced the Lord is trying to teach me patience and He is doing it every time I get behind the wheel of my car. Every time I venture out of my house it is like I become the main character in some twisted video game.
Oh, look out, “Barbara Belowthespeedlimit” is slamming on her breaks to avoid killing that falling leaf 1/4 mile away!
Oh no, here comes “Teresa Texter” on her phone alongside you, so be careful to slam on your horn really hard when she glides ever so gently over into your lane.
Watch out! Here comes “Sammy Speed Racer” behind you! He’s on your tail expecting you to speed excessively so he can get to his Impatient People’s Anonymous Meeting!
Oh and for bonus points, here is “Roger Rightturnfromthelefthandlane”! Be sure to avoid T-boning him as he crosses your path!!
Giving Grace to Others – Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
You see, my old flesh didn’t just suddenly cease to exist when I got saved. It definitely underwent some serious changes. I mean, I don’t yell at people out the window anymore so there’s that! But as a Christian, I want to keep it real for you. Giving grace to others involves getting outside yourself long enough to forget the little inconveniences, and that is not easy for me to do in the natural!
His Mercies Are New
We don’t just change overnight. And while I make an attempt every day to have my old self buried, it has a resurrection every now and then, usually behind the wheel of a certain Jeep Renegade. It is a good thing His mercies are new every morning because I am pretty sure I exhaust much of mine the day before!
“It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.“ Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV)
But while I try to keep this humorous (and honest) for you, realize that each time I get into the car it is truly a lesson in extending grace. You see, God is teaching me, from grace to grace, how giving grace to others is so important to the heart of God. God uses opportunities like these ‘video game moments’ to show me that I too do things that (dare I say) annoy others!
What??!! Me??!! Annoying?? Uh, yes! Very much at times! As I said, loud, opinionated New Yorker here!
Putting A Face On Grace
God uses these moments, more so nowadays than others thankfully, to teach me about giving grace to others. To be more understanding. To put myself in the flip-flops of others (oh I love flip-flops!). He teaches me that putting a face on grace, allowing myself to see the person and not just the situation, can actually go a long way in reducing our own stress!
Extending grace becomes easier when we stop to consider what might be going on in the lives of other people and not just focusing on our own lives.
That woman that suddenly slams on her brakes? Maybe she had a car accident recently and is still a little nervous on the road.
Teresa Texter in the lane next to me? Maybe she just found out a loved one is in the hospital and is rushing there while fielding calls from family members.
Sammy Speed Racer? Maybe his wife is in labor and is rushing to her side.
Roger Rightturnfromthelefthandlane? Maybe he is new in town and is still trying to find his way around.
You see, we all get in our bubbles sometimes and make assumptions that people are being rude or ignorant. And yes, that may well be the case at times. But sometimes, just once in a while, it is simply people trying to get by in life.
Giving Grace to Others – Give Gap Get Gap
And giving grace to others in the same way we want grace extended to us when we are having a rough time and make mistakes, that same grace we are blessed to have God extend to us when we slip up, is what He desires!
We don’t know what is going on in someone’s life. So why not assume the best of people instead of the worst?
I once heard the phrase “Give gap, get gap” in reference to giving adequate space between cars on the highway, but it is a good life lesson in extending grace as well. Let’s be sure to give a little gap so we get some in return when WE need it.
Oh, and if you see a crazy New Yorker in a white Jeep Renegade in Northwestern Connecticut, honk and wave hello! It’s likely me!
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