As I opened the front curtains one morning, I noticed a woman walking by with her large dog. I live in the "no pet" area; I was not happy. Then he decided to use my flower bed for his bathroom. That did it. I threw open the front door.
"Excuse me! This is not the pet area, and you're not allowed to walk them here. You need to go to the dog park."
"Where am I supposed to walk him? He needs to go to the bathroom." She was not happy either.
She'd arrived late and evidently wasn't informed that our recreational vehicle park doesn't allow pets just anywhere. She protested that it was a service dog; I insisted that didn't matter — she still couldn't walk it in my neighbourhood. It was not a happy encounter. I was not kind, and she responded with anger.
I teach a Bible study on Tuesdays. Two weeks later, an unfamiliar car pulled up in front of my house a few minutes before the study started. And guess who got out of the car? Yes, it was that same woman. You can imagine the thoughts running through my head. I'm the Bible study leader, and this is the lady I angrily scolded for walking her dog by my house. How should I handle this situation?
She walked into the house, seemingly unaware that we'd met before. Soon, she revealed that she'd had brain injury: she has no short-term memory and forgets the day's events as soon as she goes to sleep! She had no memory of being in front of my house or meeting me.
2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
I received grace that day, undeserved grace. She was in the wrong, but didn't know it. I was in the right, but was confrontational and unforgiving.
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)
I didn't deserve grace that day, and sometimes, I don't handle those situations well, so I was doubly blessed. By definition, grace is getting what we don't deserve. We deserve death, but Christ took care of that for us when He died on the cross and rose again to reign in heaven as our intercessor.
Grace is the foundation and the power for everything in a Christian's life. It should govern our attitudes about and behaviour towards others and compel us to serve Him faithfully and well. Hopefully, next time you or I get in a situation like this, we'll remember this lesson and respond with grace!
Prayer: Father, help us to understand the magnitude of Your grace, of the sacrifice that You made so that we could live forever. Help us to serve You in the light of this wonderful gift that You gave us. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Lead On O King Eternal" (Lyrics)