I don’t consider myself a mean girl, but at times lying in wait, just below the surface of my church lady appearance, is my sinful nature. The mean girl inside makes me feel like a Pharisee – critical and judg·y. I feel like Paul expressed in Romans 7:15, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” My heart’s desire is to be more like Christ than those that wear the mean girl attitude like a badge of honor.
Christianity finds its true expression in the community in the commandment Jesus told the disciples: “Love one another; as I have loved you.” John 15:12. God’s far-reaching grace is at the very center of close and enduring relationships between flawed people. All too often, we find ourselves withholding love from others because we judge their opinions or actions. We accept and understand the powerful effect of receiving grace from God but wrestle in thought to believe in the power of that extending grace to others. We must extend love and grace to those in our community that we disagree with. If we start seeing others as Jesus did, as people worth dying for, then we can begin to see grace work out in our real-life relationships.
Grace is about showing others kindness when they don’t deserve it. Just like Jesus showed grace to us through the Cross, that we didn’t deserve. We, in turn, need to do the same to other believers. There are several ways we, as believers, can do this:
- Watch our words and tone.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,” – Proverbs 15:1 I find that I can say almost anything to anyone if I choose my words wisely and watch my tone while I say it.
- Look for opportunities to help someone in need.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” -Romans 12:10. One day I was driving through Starbucks, and when I got to the window to pay, I was informed that the car in front of me paid for my coffee. This $5 random act of kindness made my day!
- Let it go.
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” – Proverbs 20:3. Assume the best of others and not jumping to the conclusion that they meant harm is the first step in letting it go.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” –Matthew 6:14-15. When someone asks for our forgiveness, give it freely without correction.
- Learn to ask for forgiveness.
” if you … remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering … and go; first be reconciled to your brother.” – Matthew 5:23-24. Be quick to apologize when you even think you may have offended someone. It’s better to apologize and clear the air than to wonder if someone was hurt and is festering resentment.
- Express gratitude.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Say thank you often and let people know that you love and appreciate them.
Boundless Sisterhood’s motto is, “grace, grace, grace.” It’s an acknowledgment is that we must extend grace toward other sisters in Christ and each other the way we would want it extended to us. We grasp that grace was extended to us through the Cross and understand the need to receive it; however, giving grace can be challenging.
Take the grace challenge – extend some today!