In his book, “Gracenomics”, Mike Foster says that America has become a “vulture culture”. Just like vultures, we wait for brokenness to appear and then sweep in to feast on it’s death. Last night Christina Aguilera messed up on one of the largest stages a vocal performer can have: singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Less than a minute into her rendition she flubbed a line. Instead of singing “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming” she improvised “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last reaming.” The crowd hushed. People in the stadium gawked at each other. Immediately posts started streaming to the internet. Facebook blew up with the comments. Before the game had started and the ball was kicked off, the topic was trending on Twitter. We saw a weakness and we swooped in to chomp on it. Please understand I’m not talking about mistakes (and their severity); I’m writing about how we treat the mistakes of others. Our mistakes have their own economy: each of us will pay a price for them, and know this: you and I will both make our share of mistakes. It is this fact that should compel us to treat the mistakes of others differently. We have the ability to lessen the blow, to reduce the punishment, and to speed the recovery. We can choose grace. We can choose to give a second chance (and a third, or fourth, or fifth … etc). When someone makes a mistake the affects you, hurts you, and causes you pain consider the following:
1. Examine what’s motivating your reaction. If your initial reaction is based on anger, fear, or resentment … you’re most likely going to make the situation worse. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to be angry, but grace can only be given by letting go of your rights. 2. Watch what you say. Words cut, wound, and kill. What we say will either start a process of restoration or deepen the wound. Once you unleash your judgements, it’s impossible to get them back. Words don’t have a shelf life. If you’re hurt, offended, and wronged, you probably have grounds for speaking your mind, but grace is about speaking your mind over a legitimate claim. Grace is most often demonstrated by what we DON’T say. 3. View the offense in light of the Cross. Remember that ultimately we’ve all sinned and offended God. We hurled pain, insult, and death onto the only one to ever get it right: Jesus. When we’re put in the place of offense, we should view that offense through the perspective of the Cross. If Jesus was willing to lay aside Himself and suffer for our redemption, we should be able to lay ourselves aside to show grace. Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” What offense do you need to show grace to? Who do you need to forgive?