I find more and more that the world in which many of us find ourselves in becomes more confusing (insert frustrating) with each passing day. Some days I feel like I’m firing on all cylinders and understand each task that comes before me. Then there are other days where I don’t know up from down and can’t seem to get anything right. And it’s not as if culture at large is helping any of us with this. We must have immediate strong opinions on everything that comes our way and God forbid we attempt to have any modicum of moderation in one’s viewpoints when it comes to any current cultural or political issue. And if you don’t stick to your guns that you pulled so quickly twenty-four hours later you are thought of as weak or floundering. That being said, I think there is a measure of grace that we need to seek to extend to others and ourselves when it comes to the current environment. Maya Angelou expressed it best when she said it this way, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
And that really is a picture of grace. You see, I don’t think any of us in this life of faith and the church intend harm to come to each other. Most of us can say that when we reach out to others or post on social media or write letters, blog posts, texts, etc. that we intend for good to come out of it. But sometimes…well sometimes our messages fall short or are even misconstrued or misinterpreted. And this miscommunication causes separation and hurt; in other words, it can become sin. And where there is sin, there is a need for grace. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians put it this way. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions.” – Galatians 6:1-3. Carry each other, restore each other, watch yourself and test your own actions. These are words of grace for both oneself and those you come into contact with.
And truthfully, I have an easier time extending grace to others than I do to myself. When I find myself hurting others or feeling like I have been misconstrued, I beat myself up for days. That’s when the words of Maya Angelou become so important, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Life is growth. Love is growth. It is important to be able to own up to mistakes and missteps, but then it is equally important to grow and do better. So may we do better. Do a better job of offering grace to others and to ourselves. Do a better job of measuring our actions for the sake of others. And do better at realizing how amazing the grace is that is offered to us and through us.