Where Grace is Due

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It was a Friday afternoon when the phone rang. A woman from the lab where my baby got some blood work done earlier in the week was on the other end of the line. "Oh good!" I thought to myself, "They got the results quicker than I was expecting." To my surprise she said, " I'm so sorry, I feel terrible having to tell you this, but as I was going to test the blood from your child, I accidentally dropped the tube and then stepped on it. We will need you to come back for another blood draw." A few seconds of silence passed as I processed what had just been said.  A lump formed in my throat and tears welled up behind my eyes. "It'll be okay, accidents happen" I told her with a quivering voice. She continued to apologize profusely, aware that the appointment we already had was less than ideal. Sticking a 10-month-old baby with a needle isn't exactly the most enjoyable experience for anyone involved.  

In that moment, that conversation, God, in his lovingkindness, humbled my heart and enabled me to extend mercy and grace. I won't build a false facade and say I had the perfect attitude throughout the entirety of the situation, While my feelings of sadness and disappointment were justified, my feelings of anger in the following hours were not. It was an accident caused by human error, not an act carried out in malice toward me or my child. Nonetheless, the choice was set before me: to execute judgement, hammering home how frustrating this mistake was and how more care should have been taken, or, to simply extend grace, trusting in God's goodness and sovereignty.  

It's not exactly one of my strong suits - extending mercy and grace toward others. My sinful nature prefers to sprinkle conversations like these with a little bit of passive aggression. Just enough to let someone know that I am well aware of their fault, but not enough to be labeled a complete jerk.  I have fallen, far more often than I can comfortably admit, into caring less about the person and more about what they did. Whether I reveal that outwardly or it stays bottled up inside, it is wrong. Moreover,  its utterly shameful,  because I am in need of an outpouring of mercy and grace every second of every day. It's something I can understand intellectually, but the connection between that knowledge and my actions is where God is working on my heart. 

A pastor by the name of Britt Merrick said:  

"We love mercy and grace when they are applied to our sins, deficiencies, and failures. But we get grace amnesia when it's time to deal with other people."

A sobering truth to say the least. The break in communication between my knowledge of what is right and my sinful actions is the point in which my pride intersects the transmission of information. That pride makes way for the "grace amnesia" Merrick speaks of. It's not an excuse, it's a recognition of both sin and a change that needs to take place. A change that can only be brought about by turning my gaze toward Jesus. 

Titus 3:3-5 says: 

"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

 

The thing is, God is kind to guilty people. He extends love, mercy and grace when and where it is seemingly not due. He is the standard. And by His power, and His power alone, do we have the capacity to become active participants in extending the same grace and mercy we have been shown toward others. In doing this, we reflect the very heart of God to a world that is so steeped in brokenness. And though my interaction with that woman from the lab seems small and somewhat insignificant, God is revealing to my heart that extending mercy and grace does not always feel like a grand gesture. Sometimes, surrendering in those small moments has the power to alter the course of our lives little by little for our good, and His glory. 

In view of God's mercy,

Sarah