31 Days of Grace
Yesterday's post shared a story of Abraham Lincoln extending grace to one of his Generals. This General disobeyed direct orders from the President, orders which would have likely put an end to the Civil War. But, instead of getting angry, Lincoln extended grace, and author Dale Carnegie speculated that these thoughts may have crossed Lincoln's mind, "Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn't be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade's timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done."
The motivation behind this sort of grace should be in our hearts and minds in all of our interpersonal relationships. This idea: we extend grace to others because we don't know their story.
In the case of grace toward others, grace puts yourself in the other person's shoes and says, "If I had their story, their situation, their personality, I would likely react the same way." Grace toward others says, "God bestowed grace on me when I didn't deserve it, why shouldn't I extend the same grace to you?"
Now, please realize that grace doesn't blindly accept sin, "Oh well! That's just how they are. Look at me being so gracious towards them." (insert satisfied smile). No, no. Grace toward others says, "You've sinned. I forgive you. We are ok. Now, let me help you get back on the path of righteousness."
We don't know people's stories. And, even if we do "know" we never really know. I believe God calls us to look past what we see on the outside - the sins, the personality flaws, the quirks, the self-destructive tendencies - and see the soul on the inside. The soul that needs to be shown God's grace personified.