I have a hard time with grace. I'm often caught up with the idea of justice. Bad people deserve bad things. Good people deserve good things. Which makes sense in our world, but not in the Biblical world view. Loving your neighbor, forgiving people who do wrong to you, and all that jazz. It sounds great, in theory. And you know, I'd love for people to do that for me. I get frustrated because I don't see it practiced enough in the world.
Yesterday, I was at the grocery store, minding my own business. Then, WHAM! A lady backs into me. Actually, it wasn't so much as a wham, but a tap. I was shocked, and for an instant, kind of mad. But then, I saw the look on her face, as she realized what she'd done. The woman was mortified. And something about it made me think that she might have even been a bit devastated. In that instant, I wondered how I'd feel in her shoes. I'd have been terrified, both of dealing with an irate person I'd just hit, and of the expense of repairing damage. Especially because we really can't afford to deal with something like that.
We got out of our cars, and she kept apologizing, almost on the verge of tears. I told her it was no big deal. The part of the car she'd hit was one that was already damaged. It would have been easy to say, sure, give me your insurance info, and we'll get it all taken care of. I have no way of telling what she did, and what damage was preexisting. Probably the insurance company would have taken care of most of it, if not all of it. I realized, though, what she needed at that moment was a little bit of grace. To hear me say, "It's okay," and move on. I didn't accept her insurance info, nor did I accept her name and contact info. I didn't want it. I wanted her to go home with the knowledge that there is some grace left in the world. I wanted her to sleep soundly, without having to worry if her insurance rates would go up. I wanted her to know that not everyone is looking to scam someone else.
That particular damaged door has always had a little quirk in terms of not closing properly. It's now much worse. Will I have to get it fixed now, after all these years of dealing with the quirk and keeping it duct taped? Probably. Will it cost me money that I really didn't want to spend? Probably. But the weird thing is, I'm okay with it. Because I keep seeing the look on the woman's face as she realized that I honestly and truly did not want to go after her, and it's simply priceless. If I'd gotten her information, my door might be on its way to getting fixed, but I'm not sure I'd have any peace about it.
On the drive home, I kept thinking about grace. Actually, I haven't stopped. Because as much as I get frustrated on the lack of grace in my life, I realize that I have been given the greatest gift of grace of all: salvation. But more importantly, I realized that the things I'd like to receive ought to be things I'm good at giving away. I decided that I need to give more grace, even when it hurts. Starting small,of course, but I have to start.
Today, it was dealing with some people I don't really get along with, but rather than dismissing them as I usually do, I approached them at their level, on things they could understand and relate to, and showed them kindness that I knew they didn't deserve but thought maybe it would make them feel good. That probably doesn't make much sense, but I don't want them to someday come across my blog and think, wow, she really can't stand me. It's just that I can't relate to these people, and they've hurt me in the past. But I thought, the whole point of grace is showing love to your enemies, especially when they don't deserve it. So I built them up, and in two separate and random encounters, I got back tiny pieces of my soul. I don't know if I'll ever have a really good relationship with either of these people. Frankly, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stand up and say I like these people. But I hope I can get to a place where I get good at showing love to them.