I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately. Giving it and receiving it and how much easier one of those is in comparison to the other. If I really think about it, I’m accepting grace all the time. Sometimes from Jeff, sometimes from my family, sometimes from my co-workers, and absolutely all the time from God. But giving grace to people is quite a bit harder.
I’ve been reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott and I came across a chapter that has meant more to me than all the rest (at least, up to this point.) Maybe because I can understand and relate. Anne’s talking about someone she considers her “Enemy Lite”–a single parent of another kid in her son’s class. The woman doesn’t seem to even realize they are enemies, of course. But Anne has her reasons, and to me, they sound reasonable (the woman wears latex bicycle shorts for one). However, at this point in her life, Anne is being taught the value and importance of forgiveness. She’s reminded that Luke chapter 6 says “Forgive and you shall be forgiven.”–and that there are no loopholes to be found in that passage. It’s our only option. We have to forgive–and extend grace–to everyone.
I read that chapter–as she goes through the process of trying to forgive, and reaching that moment of epiphany that the grudge she’s holding is hurting her. That God has been so gracious to forgive her time and again, as Anne puts it, “It’s like the faucets are already flowing before you even hold out your cup…”–and as I read that chapter, I thought about how hard it is to forgive some people. Especially the ones who don’t care about being forgiven.
It’s just hard, right? There are people who hate other people just because. There are people who hurt innocent people because they can. There are people who stand by and do nothing against injustice. There are people who are just indifferent. And–this is a big one–there are Christians who don’t represent the rest of us well, and that’s just infuriating. But…you know…there have been times I haven’t represented Christ well, and there will be more. And still, that faucet keeps running.
Forgiveness and grace–two major elements of the Christian faith. They sound simple. But incorporating those two words into everyday life is anything but. Still, I read back over Luke chapter 6, and I realize I have to try. If I really believe what I say I believe–then forgiveness and grace have to be a large part of who I am.