Amazon ). It's a short little book. The lay out and font make it an even quicker read but it takes a while to process. Mike Foster, founder of People of the Second Chance, writes that there is a shortage of grace in the world. He talks about the need for grace, given grace to ourselves, giving grace to others...
It was a very timely read for me. I've recently noticed something about myself. I have no problem giving grace to the homeless guy on the street. I have no problem giving any of the girls or the women at the homes grace. The other day I met a girl, maybe three months pregnant, on her way to jail for probation violation. She couldn't pay her fine, the judge wouldn't give her any more community service in lieu of payment, so she went on the run. She'd found out she was pregnant just three days earlier. She'd been drinking the night before. She has a two year old being raised by her Mom. I have no problem giving her grace.
However, the soccer mom complaining about her hectic schedule, the annoying adult cast member, the guy who can't seem to figure out the little stick jutting from his steering wheel operates a turn signal. Those people who lead "normal lives" who I've decided have no idea what real problems are...them, I struggle to give them grace.
"You don't think they deserve it."
We were in small group. It was accountability time and I discussed this insight and what I'd been reading in Foster's book. One of the women in my group, with no attempt to soften the blow, spoke truth. I had somehow set myself up as a "judge" (me who pride myself on not being judgemental!). I was deciding who was worthy of grace and who wasn't. I don't know how long I've been doing it but it's definitely gotten worse over the past few months. I've had to repent several times and really process in my prayer journal. God has had to change several opinions, outlooks and attitudes.
The simple fact of the matter is no one deserves grace...that is what makes it grace. But everyone should get it. This isn't my rule. It's God's. It became the rule when Jesus died on a cross so that I could receive grace...so that everyone could receive grace. However, some people are harder to give grace than others. And I really, really appreciate what Kelley said when we talked about the difficulty in believing the guy who killed the little girl in the apartment complex recently deserves grace. She said "just because there is grace doesn't mean there isn't justice" That guy will go to prison...probably for the rest of his life, if he doesn't get the death penalty. But grace is still available for him.
For him...for Osama Bin Laden...for the prostitue...for the cashier at Kroger...for you...for me.
Sometimes, grace is our second response and most of the time it is more a response from the Holy Spirit than it is from our human selves. But it is a response we must all practice. We must let the Spirit work.
The really cool thing is...the thing I've found...the more I practice giving others grace, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes to give them grace...
the easier it is to give myself grace.