Saturday, October 10, 2015

Where is the most grace?

Things have been rather tense for the past few days. My mother’s health took a bad turn and she began talking to me about reaching the end of her life. She was put on heavy-duty medication and has since improved some, but it’s a matter of time until she starts failing again. No one knows how much time. I have talked to her every day and spent most of the day with her today. Yes, it’s very sad to know that she is gravely ill, but it is such a gift to be given time to talk to my mother honestly and lovingly about God, mortality, and the meaning of family.

But dealing with the gravity of life’s big things has been placed in stark contrast to a petty incident that smacked my pride last week. I was feeling rather mean and spiteful and I wanted to lash back and get even.

Tonight I had a chance to talk with a friend who gently set me straight. I told her about what had been happening—both my mother’s situation and my hurt pride. I told her I had been praying about it and had not yet made a decision about how to react to my hurt feelings. She asked one simple question: “Where is the most grace?”

As soon as I hung up from talking to my wise friend, I knew the answer. The most grace comes from pushing my ego to the side and doing nothing. It’s so easy. I don’t need to win; I don’t need to prove that I’m right or smarter or better or more clever.

When viewed through the lens of grace, I could see clearly. Not vengeance, not arrogance, but humility. I don’t need to be right with the world; I just need to be right with the Lord. Sometimes prayers are answered directly from God and sometimes the answer is delivered in the words of a friend. Thank you, Lord!

From James 4: What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  . . .  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  . . . Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

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