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It’s All About Grace

20 Aug 2021 | Lt. Tyler Hopkins Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

Grace is a gift. A gift which many of us either take for granted or try our best to hoard for ourselves. As the text in Ephesians quoted above shows, there is nothing we can do to earn grace. Why then do we expect others to earn grace from us? It is part of our human nature to be greedy and selfish and unfortunately that bleeds over into giving grace as well.

It might help at this point to give a working definition for grace since it is often one of those words that people have an idea of what it means but cannot put words to it. The Oxford dictionary defines grace in this sense as “Courteous good will.” With this working definition we can surmise that when we do not show grace to others, we can be lead to wish them ill will which none of us want wished upon ourselves. 

Why is this a big deal to begin with? What makes grace something that we need to not just receive, but give as well? If you think about some times in the past when you refused grace to someone or someone refused grace to you then you know that a lack of grace tends to lead toward judgment, anger, or even hatred in some extreme circumstances. All we have to do to see this in action is to watch the news or jump on social media for a brief moment.

Stephen R. Covey in his book The Speed of Trust says, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.” I believe this shows how much we believe that others should bestow upon us a gift a grace, but we often do not believe they deserve it themselves.  The piece we fail to remember is none of us deserve it. That’s what makes it a gift. 

What may help is to do a mind exercise Brene Brown writes about in her book Rising Strong which is so simple that it sounds ridiculous.  We simply ask ourselves “Is this person doing the best they can?” The answer often times, if we give ourselves a minute to actually think about it, is either yes or I’m not sure. This alone can give us the space to show others grace. This wonderful gift what we enjoy receiving ourselves. 

My encouragement is to take a moment the next time you are feeling frustrated and angry at someone and ask yourself, “Are they doing the best they can? Would I want someone to judge me the way I want to judge them right now?” Use these questions to help guide your interactions with this person and maybe try to learn something in the process.

The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.