I cannot control how people act. Their actions are their own. The only thing I can do is to temper my reaction to their actions. Sometimes, I can extend grace easily. “They surely didn’t mean that.” or “They’ve had a rough time lately.” I will cut those people some slack and will refrain from reacting to their actions.
However……. There are some actions that get me every single time. Anytime a person negatively impacts their own children, for instance. “No grace for YOU!”, I hear in my mind. I’m suddenly judge and jury over someone’s actions. Not that I’m perfect, mind you, but “I would never”…. Yeah. So. I’m guessing this is an “opportunity for improvement” in my walk, yes? Um. Seriously. I can be ruthless and self-righteous and judgmental and mental and so much more when I think someone is messing with kiddos.
Watch the kids. They practice grace, even when we don’t deserve it. They forgive it all: broken promises, snippy replies, comments made from the end of a figurative rope. They have it down. They don’t think twice about extending grace to those who’ve done wrong by them. Adults, though? We tend to keep score.
I think children are so close to God and His will. Kids see things we cannot see in people we’d never dream to imagine as children of God. (Why do we have that right anyway?) They practice faith and forgiveness effortlessly.
As we walk with Christ, I think we have to learn to be more like children. We have to focus on extending grace rather than becoming bitter and harboring a grudge. We have to forgive others who’ve sinned against us. Why? Because we are forgiven. I don’t think it’s meant to be easy, but when we can respond with grace rather than anger, we pull closer to God and walk in the light. We become who we want to be because we inherit His grace.
We are told to pray for our enemies. We don’t get to choose who gains the favor of God. This is not our place. God wants us all to come to Him, so we cannot skip over some people merely because we don’t like their mindset. All we can do is pray for these people, that God will soften their hearts and that they will choose to follow Christ alongside us. This is definitely easier said than done, but God is clear on this point. We cannot allow our humanness to impact others’ eternity.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)