Grace changes everything

I am a judgment junkie.

Maybe that just means I’m human. Sometimes, I can’t help myself. I see someone dressed a certain way, or behaving a certain way, and I come to a conclusion based on almost no information.

That sort of thing would have gotten me fired in the newspaper business. Snap judgments, incomplete stories, speculations … that’s the stuff of tabloids and, too often, television. Facts and truth — these are the things on which I built my journalism career.

I read this quote recently, from a book I’ll review later on this blog. The author wrote it in the context of suffering and the meaning of suffering, but I think it applies in daily life as well.

Given our extremely limited perspective, it is premature to leap from “I can’t see the reason” to “There is no reason.” We cannot condemn what we don’t fully understand. (Godforsaken by Dinesh D’Souza)

How did it come to this? How can I so easily dismiss people as less worthy or less talented or less intelligent or less anything than me? What, after all, makes me so special?

The answer is:  nothing.

This occurred to me as the kids and I were walking home from church last week. We’d had a potluck, so in addition to our usual baggage, we were toting the food leftovers. Actually, the kids, who had just eaten a FULL lunch, were eating tortilla chips straight from the bag as we moseyed the three blocks home. I think our son ate half a bag. I was half-horrified at what people passing by would think and half-uncaring because I’d been sick for a week and didn’t have the energy for a fight.

Weeks earlier, I had mentally shamed a mother who allowed her son to eat lunch meat straight from the bag while in line at the grocery store deli counter.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk in her shoes while my son left a trail of tortilla crumbs on our street.

Grace changes everything.

Before I was a mom, I thought if your kid left the house with a dirty face, then you must be a poor mother. Or if you let your kid eat candy more than once a day, you weren’t trying hard enough. Or if you yelled at your kids in public, you were probably abusive. Or if you were on food stamps or WIC, you were irresponsible, lazy and/or uneducated.

Grace changes everything.

God has graciously given me the opportunity to walk paths I never would have chosen for myself. As a result, I’ve received more grace than I knew was available. And I’ve given more grace than I knew I could give.

Grace is a work in progress in my life, both in the giving and the receiving.

I have much to learn.

I don’t think it’s enough to look at someone in circumstances different from ours and say “But for the grace of God go I.” Because God’s grace is available to them as well. I need it daily. They need it, too.

Grace changes everything.

Most importantly, it changes me.

How has grace changed you?

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