October 2, 2020
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”
Luke 6: 37. The Message
I recently listened to a call-in radio show hosted by two family counselors. One 35-year-old woman called in about a messy family situation. After addressing the specifics, one counselor suggested that the caller show some grace towards her mother, who had given her daughter a grossly unfair ultimatum.
He said, “We live in a one-and-done culture. A person makes one mistake, and we write them off. They do one thing wrong, and we refuse to forgive them.” He went on to say, “We give people one chance, and that is it. I am so tired of this one-and-done culture! We need to realize that most people are doing the best they can, with the very flawed and blunt tools they were given for family relationships, often by their imperfect parents.”
This counselor’s advice fits perfectly with Jesus’ counsel to his followers: Show some grace. When someone is down, don’t pile on. Don’t be too quick to criticize, or someone may be very quick to criticize you!
There are many “messy” relationships in our world, not only within our families, but with co-workers, bosses, friends, and many others. Jesus wants us to offer them what we would want to be offered if the “shoe was on the other foot”. There will be times when a relationship cannot be mended, and perhaps should not be. Forgiving others does not always mean repairing a relationship with them. Yet Jesus wants us to go to extreme measures to show grace, even when we don’t feel it is deserved.
I believe there is a great deal of wisdom in Jesus’ teaching. Life is easier when you offer people some grace and forgiveness. It isn’t that we don’t strive for excellence. We do! But we need both a drive to excel and a grace to forgive. Both are necessary.
Jesus modeled the grace-filled behavior He wants us to show to others. The most perfect person to ever walk this earth, Jesus was treated in the worst way a human being could be treated. He even died a horrible death on the cross for us. Yet during His life, He showed those around Him endless grace. He did not laugh at those who were “having a bad day”, or “getting what they deserved.” Instead He reminded them, and all of us, that we need to treat those very people with love, grace, and kindness. The need the kind of behavior which we would want for ourselves.
Jesus tells us not to judge others. In a world full of harsh critics, let us be cheerleaders for those who are struggling. What people need is more of God’s grace, and less of our judgment. Resolve to give them the forgiveness they need, and not the justice they deserve. You will find life easier if you do so. Hallelujah! and Amen.
Lord, you offer us the perfect example of how to behave. Help us to find a forgiving spirit, even when it is buried deep within ourselves. Show us ways to improve our world, and our relationships. Protect us from those who want to discourage us and lead us away from You. Forgive us for the words we speak which do not honor you. Help us to be solution seekers, full of your grace, kindness, love, patience, forgiveness and mercy. We pray this prayer in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.