Unexpected Kindness

There is nothing that makes you feel more loved than undeserved grace. And isn't grace always undeserved? Which is what makes it so precious.

Imagine this scenario: You had a rough day, so when your friend came and asked you for a favor, you opened your mouth and said the wrong thing. You didn't mean it the way it came out. When you thought the words before speaking them, they seemed gentler and less offensive. But now that you've spoken, you find yourself shocked by how it sounded.

Your words offended. Of that, you have no doubt. After all, they would have offended you too had someone addressed them to you.

But it's too late. You can't erase your words. Cringing, you await your friend's reaction. Apologizing seems lame. You've just placed a huge barrier between you. There was no denying the hurt that had flashed in her eyes. You wait with bated breath in stunned silence unable to defend yourself.

And then the response comes. The reaction you are dreading is inevitable.

Amazingly, your friend's eyes soften and she says, "I know you didn't mean what you said. It's so unlike you. Did you have a rough day today?"

Instead of anger, you've been given unexpected kindness. You've been offered GRACE.

Relief floods over you like a warm shower on a cold day. You expected recrimination—which is what you deserved. But what was given to you was forgiveness, understanding, . . . and GRACE!

"I didn't mean it the way it came out," you say. "I'm so sorry!"

And your relationship with that person is saved—not because you had the right attitude—but because your friend was willing to believe for the best in you. She chose to overlook your hurtful words and offer you GRACE instead.

When you finally learn that a person's behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than it ever did with you, you learn grace.

The Germans have a saying I heard my grandmother and my parents quote in my childhood. It goes like this: "Wie es in den Wald hineinschallt, so schallt es auch wieder heraus." The translation is something like this: "As it echoes into the forest, so it echoes back again." The meaning is similar to the English saying, "What goes around comes around."

Our human reaction is to give back what has been dished out to us. To get even. But this is the opposite of what it means to offer grace.

No one in all history ever offered grace as Jesus Christ did for all mankind. He was beaten, spit on, pierced, mocked, and crucified, yet He gave His life to save us. And He did this while we were yet sinners. Before we repented of our sins.

And we are supposed to imitate God.

The Apostle Paul said:

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Ephesian 5:1-2 NASB

May God grant us all more grace to do so.

May we be willing to see the best in everyone—even when they are blatantly showing their worst side. And may we be willing to offer GRACE.

As Jesus suffered mockery, excruciating pain, and the weight of our sins on the cross, His prayer defined true grace. "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

If someone has not measured up to your expectations. If they have hurt you. Remember that most people are not as mean or evil as we wish to think they are when we are angry and hurt. Remember also that there may be reasons for their reaction that you are not aware of. Finally, remember that everyone walks around with their own baggage. Their response more than likely resulted from an internal struggle within them and it probably had little or nothing to do with you. Ask God to help you respond like Jesus did when He forgave those who killed Him . . .

. . .and when He forgave you.


January 19, 2022