OUR SMALL GROUP is working through Max Lucado’s “Out Live Your Life.” This week’s homework is to think of 5 people to whom we need to extend grace. We won’t be called upon to share details or names with the group.
Count me in.
#1 and #2 pop right to mind. The usual suspects. We all have them. But heading home Thursday evening, I wonder who the other 3 will turn out to be. I know I won’t have to think too hard. They’ll be brought to my attention in due time.
#3 Next morning, a new friend I’m liking more and more all the time keeps flitting through my thoughts. To my surprise, I find I am beginning to harbor an ill feeling. Lately I am taking note of every time the person does a certain thing. Now if it was some other person doing the very same thing and giving the same reason for it, I would not only let it go, but I would also feel compassion and sympathy. So why am I holding the hoops higher for my friend? Hmmm.
#4 comes while running errands and finding, as I go, the loop in my head keeps replaying a scene from several weeks ago when I bumped into an acquaintance. Something in the encounter seemed “off.” Since then, my imagination has been filling in the blanks. Another “Ah!” and I know it’s time to stop assuming I know the cause and resenting the person for what I perceive to be the issue. In other words, I need to extend grace. Also, if the opportunity arises and it seems appropriate, to ask.
#5 still hangs out there as the new week begins. But then, an unexpected call comes, and just as I pick up, I can feel an inner “Ugh.” Before a word is spoken or heard, before my hello or the hello that comes back at me, I’m already ugh-ing this exchange. I’m expecting a complaint. No complaint comes. Just wait, I think. Just wait until the next call. Uh-huh. I’ve got my #5.
Thanks to Belinda. Her post about what her group is studying reminded me of all this.