Grace in Friendships- You Only Give What You Have

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There are an endless number of ways to screw up relationships. It’s easy to be forgetful,  inconsiderate, selfish, complaining, petty, jealous, demanding, hyper-sensitive, impatient; without even trying! It’s just as easy to expect those we love to forgive us, offer us grace, know we didn’t mean it that way. You know what’s hard? I mean, feels impossible plus I don’t want to kind of hard? Offering grace to others.

It amazes me how quickly I expect to receive grace for my mistakes, yet how stingy and tight fisted I am in extending the same to those around me. It seems when Jesus talked about the plank and speck in scripture, he knew we would need an extreme analogy to break through our defenses against pride and self preservation. Because the truth is when I feel hurt or wronged, I always think I have the speck and they have the plank! It is so easy to assume our faults are more normal or understandable, and therefore deserving of grace, than theirs are toward us. It’s delusional thinking, but it helps us justify why we need them to earn the very thing we want unconditionally given.  The truth is my sin, my weakness and my flaws don’t hurt me the way they hurt my friends. If I actually felt the impact they experienced, perhaps it would be easier to accept the plank in my eye isn’t just a speck.

“If grace is a ocean we’re all sinking” -Dave Crowder

The thing about grace is, until you receive it you can’t give it away. The only way to let go of pain and hurt and offense completely is letting it be swallowed up in the ocean of God’s undeserved grace offered in Christ. Jesus took the plank of the cross on himself, so the barrier of sin that kept me distant from God could be removed. When I see the lengths Jesus had to go to remove my sin, it’s hard to stay in denial about how ugly it really is. The reason I have a hard time forgiving or getting over someone’s offense against me, is I unknowingly compare myself to them.  And when I do, I will always feel that I have the higher ground, because my real pain seems worse than what I imagine my sin causes others. It’s comparing in the wrong direction. I don’t forgive others because they deserve it. Or because they have earned it. I forgive because I didn’t deserve or earn God’s forgiveness- yet I have it. Complete, total, unconditional forgiveness and love based on what Jesus did for me. When I compare my sin to God’s love, then I feel the weight and beauty of grace. Then I can truly offer something that is a reflection of grace to those around me.

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