Grace is something God provides daily. We make a mistake; His grace is there. We go left when He says go right; His grace is there. Freely, He gives grace to us. So, why do we find it so difficult to extend grace to others?
Recently, I was in a check-out line at a grocery store. So distinctly, I felt God leading me to encourage the lady that was working the cash register. Immediately, I started thinking about how she would respond to me telling her, “God loves you,” and fear showed up. That cashier didn’t seem to smile during our encounter, and I began to wonder what would come of this. Would my words encourage her or be the last thing she wanted to hear at that moment? So many thoughts swirled in my head as I weighed my options. In the end, I paid for my groceries and walked away without speaking any words of encouragement. I felt awful about it. She may have needed those words, especially today. Instead of beating myself up for the rest of the day, I prayed for God to continue to increase my boldness so I can speak up when He truly needs me to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Later that same day, another lady reached out to me and expressed how she had been doubting herself. I was able to encourage her, and although I didn’t push beyond fear earlier that day in the check-out line, I was glad I was able to push past feelings the second time around. More than anything, I was thankful for God providing grace and loving me, even when I didn’t get everything exactly right. He would soon remind me to extend that same grace to my oldest daughter, at a time when she needed it most.
My oldest daughter, all of nine years old, had two recitals coming up at her school. She would be playing the violin, once during a class assembly, and again during an evening recital for students, teachers, parents, and friends. She was okay with the class assembly (only students and faculty present), but she was not thrilled about performing in front of a “room full of adults.” Her explanation: “Mom, you know I have stage fright.” I explained that she would have to overcome this fear and that I expected her to perform during both events. Unbeknownst to me, she had already had a conversation with her music teacher and was excused from performing at the evening recital. How could my daughter just decide she was too afraid to perform? Didn’t she know she would be okay? Should I just let her get her way? As I was still adamantly explaining that she would, in fact, have to perform during the evening recital, God ever so gently reminded me of the grace He had extended me when I was too afraid, on more than one occasion.
At that moment, as much as I wanted to persuade for her to perform, I knew I had to extend grace. It was my turn to show her what grace (and a mother’s love) should look like. When she, again, declared that she would not be performing during the evening recital, I merely said, “Okay.” I then proceeded to explain that we would work on getting over her stage fright, “little by little until you’re finally ready.” Though neither of us knows when “finally ready” will be, I am determined to extend grace, along the way, just as Christ continues to do for me.
So, the next time you find yourself in a situation that could use a little (or a lot) of grace, remember, God provides us with grace daily. The least we can do is extend to others the same grace we are in need of every single day.