A year or so ago, I was at the pharmacy, standing in line, waiting for my prescription. A man, filled with tattoos, stood near me. When it was my turn, I stepped forward. He quickly stepped in front of me.
I felt like I had two options:
Or give him grace.
Naturally, my inclination would be to think he was selfish and rude
but I felt like God told me to try grace instead.
I had recently had my daughter and was learning that there was so much more people could be going through than meets the eye. I knew this because it had become true in my life. Going to the grocery store, I was often exhausted. Lines irritated me. I just wanted a minute to sit down. Maybe I hadn’t slept the night before because my little one was sick or teething… I needed a lot of grace my whole life but becoming a mom made it so so clear.
So here I am. On the verge of making assumptions about this tattooed rougher looking man or opening a flood gate of grace in my heart. I made the choice to think that he must really need it or may be in a hurry for some reason. I could believe the best…
A second after he finished getting his prescription filled, he turned to me and with a softness in his voice and genuineness in his face said something along the lines of, “Sorry I jumped in there, I had some dental work done and I’m in a lot of pain.”
It was crazy. God knew. God knew that guy needed to go first and God knew I needed an opportunity to practice giving grace.
Fast forward to 2019.
I’m still learning this lesson.
It is so easy for me to hold on to the ways I feel like I’ve been wronged. God has repeated a lot lately: Let them off the hook.
I met a friend for coffee that I hadn’t seen in a long time. Over the months and years I had felt frustrated and forgotten… I debated sharing that with this person, but God reminded me I had a choice. I could bring up all this hurt and pain and have an uncomfortable conversation or I could choose to believe the best in that person and enjoy the time I did have with them. After all, had I been the perfect friend at all times? Surely not. Life happens. Let people off the hook. You might not know all that they have been going through.
That’s not to say that accountability isn’t important. However, Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
I think it’s more about realizing our own imperfections and our own need for grace and forgiveness. We are not perfect, we need to stop expecting others to be. People will always let us down, love them anyway. Bring your hurts and hangups to the Lord. He’ll show you what to do.
I love what Joyce Meyer says about Finding Peace Through Forgiveness… Let me know what you think and what God is teaching you.