Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Second, Second Chances: A musing on grace, forgiveness, and how strengths can also be weaknesses

“Everybody deserves a second, second chance”
-Michael Scott (“The Office”)

I recently realized that this is the way that I think about people that I encounter each day. One of my dear friends and fellow housemates told me this recently, as we were discussing one particular situation in my life, that he views me as ‘the most grace filled person he has ever met,” and though I had never thought about it in that way before, I realized that I do like Michael Scott, always give a person the benefit of the doubt, and many a second chance when they do hurt me or frustrate me in any way.

This as my friend continued to say, is an amazing gift from the Lord no doubt, but like with so many great gifts, it can also be used by Satin as a weakness as well. The way this strength and gift of mine is a weakness is that I can easily be gullible and also not see the truth about some people, when it comes to legitimate areas in which they have character flaws that God needs to work through in their lives.

I think it is for people like me that Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I am sending you outa as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

When dealing with people it is essential that we be observant and wise. That means we watch them and see how they treat not only us personally but others around them. Some folks without really even realizing they are doing it can be drains on us, and when I say that I mean in any capacity, mentally, financially, emotionally etc. People such as me will look at the positive parts of their personality, and continue to extend grace to them for their draining personality, sacrificing our own emotional health in the process.

This is where that wisdom needs to come in, and people like me need to realize that while we can still treat this individuals with grace, we also need to keep our contact with them to a minimum so as not to get drawn into their world of drainage. Call it developing healthy boundaries.

However, it is important that one doesn’t allow the proverbial pendulum to swing the other way and we become so careful of avoiding emotional drainers that we no longer seek to love and forgive those in our lives. People will hurt us; and some people who we love deeply will hurt us many times. This is a truth that is born of living in a fallen world. Adopting an attitude that seeks to forgive and reconcile with these people as soon as possible is essential to our emotional health as well. I am always one to seek reconciliation as soon as possible.

Being angry with another person drains my heart more than anything, and thus when issues come up I pursue the person until we talk whatever the situation is through thoroughly. If I have sinned against them in any way, I am sure to apologize immediately. Living with four other men has taught me of the importance of this, as I have had scrapes with a couple of my housemates over the past few months, but have always talked through them, apologized when I am led to via the Holy Spirit, and sought to peaceful resolve our issue before we all go to bed.

It is times like those that I realize how thankful I am for being able to forgive and extend grace abundantly. Grudges are never good among friends, and certainly not something Jesus wanted among any members of the body. Once again in Matthew, this time in chapter five, he even tells us to resolve a grievance before giving our gift or tithe in worship. It is that important!!

So I guess my ultimate point to this whole blog is that I am continuing to discover areas of truth about who I am and how I function. I am seeing more and more how indeed my areas of my greatest strengths are also my areas of greatest weakness, and I thus, am continually asking God for wisdom in those weaknesses.

God gives us ‘second, second chance(s)” so it is important that we do the same with fellow brothers and sisters in our community.