This morning I read an article about marriage. It is written by a Christian, from a Christian point of view, but the truths here are universal. Here’s a link to the full article for those of you interested.
Anyway it got me thinking about grace. I love it. I try my best to live by it. That seems like a silly thing to say, but it’s true. It is such a necessary thing in relationships. The article was written with the marriage relationship in mind, but I think it can apply to any close relationship. The article says…
When a marriage is missing grace, the entire disposition of the relationship changes.
Little things cause big fights.
Motives are constantly questioned.
Tempers are short and often lost.
Assumptions are always made.
Conclusions are frequently jumped to.
Husbands and wives consistently lead with anger.
The past is always brought up.
The score is always kept.
(- See more at: http://refineus.org/one-missing-ingredient/#sthash.N1nm9aBV.dpuf)
It is so true! We can overlook unkind actions and words, misunderstandings and accusations for only so long. If there is no kindness, understanding, love, appreciation, trust, and grace to neutralize those things, love will die and the relationship will be almost impossible to repair. I’ve said to my kids and others over and over that they should give everyone the benefit of the doubt before they ever jump to conclusions on their behavior. Especially to those they don’t know or who haven’t ever given them a reason to truly question them. Don’t ever assume that someone is being passive aggressive, vindictive, or sneaky. Don’t make anyone in your life pay for the mistakes of others in your life. Just because one friend/coworker/partner/etc. lied/was an addict/snuck around/gossiped/etc. doesn’t mean that everyone will. Don’t be suspicious of people just because. It ruins relationships. (Here I will insert that one should also be wise and not taken advantage of. If someone consistently is aggressive/vindictive/sneaky/etc., you shouldn’t overlook that behavior. It needs to be addressed, and grace can still be shown to that person, but it will look slightly different.)
I’ve been the recipient of grace and it’s counterpart. Grace made me want to try. Grace made me feel guilty when I knew that no matter how kind, loving, sweet, forgiving, etc. he was, he was still a HE and that was the problem. The opposite of grace wore me out, tore me down, and left me empty. It was a horrible feeling, but I learned a lot from being treated that way. Mostly, that I don’t ever want to be the reason that someone feels that emptiness.
I think the author of the article said it best when he said…
So many couples try to correct their behavior or change their communication patterns, but without grace those changes are temporary and exhausting. Grace is the starting point from which all change is made.
(Again- See more at: http://refineus.org/one-missing-ingredient/#sthash.N1nm9aBV.dpuf)
Amen, brother, amen!
In 2005, I committed to “refreshing the hearts” of others. My basic goal was that when people were around me, I wanted them to feel like they’d had a breath of fresh air. I wanted them to walk away feeling good. I know I haven’t always been refreshing. I know there are days when I downright stunk, but I’m renewing that commitment. I want to love others, make them feel renewed and refreshed, so that when they walk away they have a smile on their faces.
Grace to you.