I heard a sermon a few months ago (I was very pregnant with Ty) that stuck with me. The preacher talked about people that required extra grace. He reminded us that God showed us unconditional love, forgiveness, and beautiful beautiful grace. He spoke of people who needed a little extra grace. The ones you want to push away or don't want to be seen with that, perhaps, need more grace instead of less. Those that need our attention, our time, our love. His words hit home for me. As an educator, I first thought of students. The really really annoying ones. The ones that were way immature, or whined too much, or were always causing drama. The student that wanted to stand at my desk and talk on and on and on... the random tap on the shoulder kid with important comments like, "Do you like cats? I like cats. I have 7 cats and one is about to have kittens..." cats. cats. cats. cats. Crazy cat lady - kid style. You get the idea. I sunk a little in the pew as I realized I have too often cut those kiddos off... shushed them... prompted them to go get busy or to go play or to go talk to friends. I have a heart for teaching and a heart for kids, but isn't there always that one that just kind of drives you crazy or gets under your skin. The stinky kid. The needy kid. I thought about all those, kids and adults, that I have judged... people who dressed different or acted different or seemed to come from a different world than mine... or at least a different class. This is real folks. Real ugly.
I am a God fearing woman who tries to do what is right. I try not to judge and to be kind to all those I encounter. Do I love, though? God is love and God is IN me, so shouldn't I be spilling that love out on to EVERYONE I meet? Not just those that are like me or from a similar background.
The point of the message I heard was that the very people we try to avoid are the ones who likely need extra grace - more love - those who deserve eye contact, undivided attention, and some genuine listening and loving.
Jesus loved everyone. Jesus dined with sinners. He is our example. He shows grace to me. Who am I to decide not to show grace to others. God's grace is love in action and if we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we must be love in action as well.
Color me convicted.
A dear friend gave me a Devotional recently. Out of the Spin Cycle, by Jen Hatmaker. Although I received it a couple of weeks ago, today I sat down to read for the first time. I started with the Prologue, which I would like to share here. It make me laugh and certainly struck home on several levels. I was most struck, I think, with her words about young mothers and what they need most is not to be judged, but to be given love, help, and advice. I love that she says our common ground is showing our children Jesus. And that Jesus is at Whole Foods and Wendy's. This reminded me that in my very chaotic, laundry-filled, messy-house, sleep-deprived state, I could use a lot of grace and certainly don't need judgement. It reminded me of all the other Moms out there probably need the same. Then I got to thinking it's not just moms... we all need a little extra grace.
Read for yourself and see what you think.