Sunday, October 03, 2010

Pass the Grace, Please

I think the hardest part about spiritual growth or having to face a trial has got to be the fact that life doesn't stop during the process. Wounded, we walk through the routine of our days with smiles on our faces. We make conversations and jokes and perform menial tasks. We wash laundry and write thank you notes. We pay our bills and put petrol in our autos.

If we had a choice, however, we would do none of those things. Instead, we'd scream out to the heavens in our anger and pain. We'd run to our mothers for her embrace and comfort. We'd lock ourselves in our rooms so we could cry and cry and let healing begin. We would rage against those who have hurt us and get some justice. What we crave more than anything, really is just a little stinkin' privacy.

Those actions, however, don't put dinner on the table.

Those actions are more likely to make others into the walking wounded as well.

If there's one thing a trial teaches me, it's how to extend grace to others. The people I come across may have gaping wounds in their hearts that have absolutely nothing to do with me. They may snap in irritation over some delay. They may honk their horns with impatience the moment a light turns green, not even giving me opportunity to move my foot from brake to gas pedal. Or, reversely, they may be the ones sitting idle, not realizing the light has changed, completely miserable.

Because we are a selfish people, we cannot help but take the actions of others as a personal affront. Our instinct is to go on the defensive and lash back by reacting to the irritated, honking our horns in return, or shouting a loud, "GO already! Sheesh!" This, of course, compounds the misery of the hurting.

At Disney, there are buttons guests can wear to announce a celebration such as a birthday, anniversary, or engagement. Cast members watch for these buttons to call out special messages to the guests. Happy birthday! Congratulations! We're glad you're here! The guests can't help but smile and brighten with each greeting.

What if the walking wounded were allowed to wear buttons?

I'm hurting.

I just lost a loved one.

My world is crashing around me.

My marriage is suffering.

I'm struggling financially and overwhelmed.

I have a horrible illness.


What if others could really see their pain and call out special messages to them? Or what if, simply, we could see their button just long enough to extend a little compassion and a lot of grace?

Go ahead and honk, Lady. I see you're hurting and I don't mind.

Hope you feel better soon!

I'm praying for you.


The truth is, everyone has a button of some kind, but they're invisible. I know this because God's Word says the one thing we're guaranteed is trials.

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

This week, I hope to become less aware of my own trials and more aware of those around me. I wonder how many opportunities God will give me to extend grace?



PS Mom, wish I could be with you today. I'm thinking of you and I love you.

5 comments:

agable said...

I love this, I love this, I love this. I think you are me in ten years (because I know you're only 35:). It's true. Life keeps going, even when we are in the midst of pain. I think it can actually be a blessing. I know when I am really sad about something, distractions can be a big help in not allowing me to dwell on a problem that's out of my control. Thank you for the reminder that we should be a little more caring to everyone. The truth is, we DON'T know what people are struggling with. Someone may have just had a miscarriage, or filed for bankruptcy,or found out about an illness. God wants us to show compassion regardless of whether or not we feel like it.
You are so wise.

Joanna K. said...

JoAnna,
That was so beautiful and profound! Thank you for sharing. I agree 100%!
Much love and GRACE to you,
-Joanna

Anonymous said...

My prayer of late is to see people as God sees them and then to treat them according to the love He has for them. This does not come naturally!

BA

Jessica Leigh said...

Sometimes I get so caught up in my own hurt that I forget others around me are hurting. I'm craving Grace, but I neglect to extend it.
Thank you for being Grace to me today.

DaDaHaZaReJe said...

Beautiful, timely and TRUE!

Thank you!

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