Friday, March 25, 2016

Extending Grace

I find it very interesting that in our attempts to be funny, to be passionate, to be involved, all too often we err to the side of being cruel, unloving, vindictive, mean.

What do I mean?

We get worked up around an issue.

We see others worked up around that issue, either for or against.

We may like some of what they say, so we repost it, with supportive words.

If we oppose what others say, we may attempt a rebuttal, a desperate try to change their mind.

If we are having a bad day, or we are overly sensitive to others who are different than us, this may all cause raised blood pressure, anxiety, fear of rejection, and anger.

Meanwhile, these people who read our pages, and are on the receiving ends of our rebuttals probably do not see things from our same perspective.  Additionally, they may be having the worst week/day/month of their lives, and are themselves super-sensitive right now.  No matter what is going on in others' lives, people are going to perceive things differently.

For instance, things I once thought to be hilarious are not quite so funny when seen through the eyes of the subjects of the jokes.  I initially found things amusing because I had never even considered that others might see things differently than I do.  My cultural bias did not allow me to see things from the cultural perspective and experiences of another.  I certainly had no idea that these things I thought funny were hurtful and unloving to others.  

Similarly, when I repost something another friend has posted.  While I like things others share, that does not necessarily mean that I agree with everything else they say, or that they agree with me.

Also, not all issues are important to all people....we are all uniquely created with different interests and giftings,

If I am going to extend grace to others, I need to extend it across the board...both to those with whom I agree, AND with those where our agreements are much different.  If I am to represent the God I serve, I have to be prepared to consider how the words I say (or share) affect those who are listening to me.  I don't want to (unintentionally) cause harm to others' walks because I spoke about something in a way that was unloving, cruel, vindictive, or mean.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

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