Grace and Forgiveness

When the person behind you is riding your tail.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone dismisses your heartfelt compliment.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you find yourself being hypocritical.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone cuts you off when you’re talking.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you’re accidentally left out.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you’re intentionally left out.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone spoils a movie you haven’t seen.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone ate the last cookie and you didn’t get one.

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Grace and forgiveness.

 

 
When you smile but don’t get one back.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you work hard and someone else gets the credit.
Grace and forgiveness.

As you start your day.

As your live your day.

As you end your day.

Grace

And forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other {grace} and and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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Devotions for June, Entry 20 {forgive}

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

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When I was really little, my church did a kids musical called “Agapeopolis,” which was based on this passage of scripture. Each character represented an attribute of love, or of what love wasn’t. One of the characters was Judge Grudge, who, as you may have guessed, kept a list of everyone’s wrongdoings. The rest of the characters told the main character, a kid looking for love, about how love isn’t like that.

That’s how I’ve often seen this phrase interpreted. But I’d like to focus on forgiveness. Would you say that’s the opposite of holding a grudge?

I won’t dwell on what forgiveness is, or the fact that the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. I want to look at timing and conditions. When do we forgive? Under what conditions do we forgive?

Do we forgive when the person has learned their lesson? Do we forgive when karma’s bit them in the ass? Do we forgive only when the person has received his/her punishment, or if they seem remorseful, or when they’re in dire straits and need our help? Do we wait until they ask for forgiveness? Do we wait until God tells us to forgive? Do we ask others advice about when or under what conditions to forgive? Do we forgive when we feel better about the situation? Do we forgive only after the whole truth has been revealed?

No.

You forgive immediately.

How can you say that?

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

When you don’t forgive right away, you are implying that you can handle the situation better than God. Don’t take it into your hands, give it to God.

p.s. The “self-seeking” character in “Agapeopolis” was a girl named Mimi (get it?) who sang “Looking Out For Good Ol’ Number One.”

Devotions for June, Entry 18 {grace}

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

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My biggest pet peeve is slow drivers. You want to know how vicious I can be? Once I thought to myself, “the only reason I can think of why people drive exactly the speed limit is simply because they have nothing better to do.” Geez Sarah!

When we get easily angered, it’s usually because something isn’t going our way. There’s a misunderstanding, or miscommunication. Anger is one of the HALT triggers (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) which means it doesn’t lead to good things. Even if the misstep is our fault we still get angry. Sometimes it’s at ourselves.

A while back, I was talking to a coworker and relaying what I thought was important information to them. Instead of a “thank you, that will be helpful” I got an “okay…” in that tone of voice that told me I was wasting their time. Through my professional and clinical experience, I knew the information I was giving was vital and I would have been reprimanded if I hadn’t told my coworker. And yet, I got that response.

I was a little miffed. I didn’t say anything, but I felt angry that my information wasn’t appreciated. And then I remembered a phrase from that week’s sermon – extend grace.

Extend grace.

Who knows what my coworker was going through that day. Maybe it was a bad day. Maybe they were swamped. Maybe they don’t convey appreciation outwardly. I decided to forgive the person right then and there (more on that Friday.)

You know what it did? It made me feel better and it kept me from venting to someone about it. What if we all extended grace instead of complaining about other people? We might actually run out of things to talk about. Or maybe we’d start talking about the right things.

p.s. Why do we call the prayer before meals “grace”?