Some people get on my nerves.
Some people say dumb things.
Some people just don’t mesh with other people.
There is a definite responsibility as grown-ups to show grace, but let’s take a look at what we call grace and what God calls grace. Grace defined is “unmerited favor by God”. When I say I’m showing grace, I’m really saying, “I’m putting up with this person and calling it grace when really I would like to be somewhere else instead of here with this person.”
Not pretty, but true. And not grace. It’s fake grace (as my friend, Liberty, called it). It’s calling something spiritual when it isn’t. My so-called grace is not grace, it’s opinion, preference, tolerance. My so-called grace comes from a place of pride and a sense of lowering myself to let you be by me. That is not grace. That’s patronizing.
Just because I say I don’t like someone or we don’t gel, doesn’t give me a pass to be a snob, or a jerk, or isolate myself because we all know Jesus hung around with…wait…wait a minute, Jesus spent most of his time with twelve guys. Twelve. That’s a small group. He spent less time with other people. I’m not saying Jesus didn’t like people and avoided people, because he didn’t (at least not that we know of). I’m saying he spent more time with the people he trusted and wanted to do life with. Obviously there is more to the story as to why he picked those twelve, (like sending them out to save the world) but we can take some learning from him.
Putting people around us we really gel with, people who get us, think like us, and understand life the way we do is invaluable. As for us humans (and not the Son of God) putting people around us who challenge our thinking, our beliefs, and our nerves is imperative.
Having people around us that we just don’t like can bring up the stank in us. They make the ugly bubble up in us and then we can see what we might need to have Jesus fix. They uncover my bias opinions, my intolerance, and my inability to love unconditionally. So, I won’t call it “grace” anymore because I’m not the one to give out “unmerited favor”. They don’t need my “blessing” to be who they are, nor do they need my grace. They really don’t need anything from me. It is I who need his grace and his love so that when those who enter my life become difficult, I will be more like Christ, and less like me.
His grace is on the line, not mine. His name is what matters, not mine. His circle of love and acceptance is what matters, not mine. So, the next time I want to hand out my golden plate of “grace”, I will remember who first gave me grace and yield to his love so I can too love those around me.
Thank God for his grace.