Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12-13
Grocery shopping. Toddler. Eight months pregnant. A simple day in my life. So, I’m on line thinking “I am so close to the end of this line”. Grandiose nap scenarios for me and the kid are formulating in the temporal lobes of my brain. Even though my body is telling me I am dog tired my imagination has assured me all will go according to plan. Continued dream sequence: success!
Wait, someone is speaking. My fantasy halted, it’s the lady in front of me speaking and she is talking to me. “Aren’t you a little too old to be having kids?” she says. Screech! Stop! What did she just say? Refocus. “Ok, let’s just exit quickly,” I say to myself. My hormone-saturated brain, holding on to a toddler while paying for groceries, wanted out. I mean she had a few things right. I was at an advanced maternal age and I was pregnant. But too old? Emotions flooded me. I reasoned, “I am crazy and she is a jerk”! I didn’t have much mercy or kindness for her and I wasn’t treating myself much better. Regardless of her insensitivity, my non-response was not what God commanded of me. Neither one of us benefitted that day.
Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to think back on that encounter. If I could change one thing it would be that I had more to give her than nothing. Since then, thankfully, my journey with God has taught me a few things; mainly this: no matter what the world throws at me, God has given me everything I need to flourish in His grace. But it’s up to me to move with Him and allow all of who He is to be the answer for me and others.
Can we, his holy people, actually apply this in our own lives? Can we reach out to those who, through their own pain, seek to hurt? Can we relinquish control to not seek revenge?
God’s grace: His rewards at Christ’s expense given to all mankind; given sacrificially; given freely. A marvel of God’s design given to all even though we were enemies of God, having rejected His ways. A people branded in brokenness who don’t trust easily and guard against something that’s freely given.
Receiving this miraculous gift of grace into our lives is what makes us holy. Who He is in us makes it possible for us to be channels of tenderhearted mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience. It equips us to make allowances for others’ faults. It prepares our hearts to forgive when we could never do so in our own human will. Grace lifts us up and helps us to apply humility when we fail and aligns us to remember it is He who is our source. Moment by moment when we choose to apply these characteristics, we make eternal deposits in our spiritual bank account to be drawn upon when we need it most. Peace dwells in the sacred ground where we allow God’s grace to be the champion when rudeness, insensitivity, tragedy, evil, hurt, pain, control, unforgiveness and revenge want to rule. True freedom comes as we come to the altar of self, every day, to die to the need to be the answer.
I can’t say for sure why this dear lady spoke to me the way she did. Sure it was insensitive. There could be a thousand reasons. Regardless of the reasons, my response is the only real take-away I need: choosing every day to live in grace and to give that grace freely away.