I'll be the first to admit, I am not the best at dealing with people one may describe as 'EGR.' When it comes to children, I have all the patience in the world. But for those adults that require some extra grace, I seem to lack the extra grace needed. Instead, my first inclination is to avoid those who have hurt or offended me.
Yes, I've prayed about it. I've asked God to help me deal with the people in my life that may be a little harder to tolerate and that require me to express a little extra grace. But I never seem to get the answer from God I was looking for...that extra grace I thought I needed.
Then as I was spending some time in God's Word today, I felt as if God gave me rude awakening. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture, with the term extra grace required and with my way of thinking. As I was reading Ephesians 4:25-32, I was especially struck by verse 32, which instructs us to be “kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another…”
Am I really being kind, tender-hearted and forgiving if I can think of someone else as an EGR? It implies that I think I need less grace than they do, which just isn’t true. I can be just as difficult to get along with as anyone. I think at times, we can all require a little extra grace.
So instead of God giving me the extra grace I thought i needed to extend to others, He is showing me that I need to remember the grace He extends to me everyday!
That’s what I see in this passage from Ephesians. On our own, we’re all ornery people, prickly and fussy and self-centered and stubborn. And the only way we can make it in this life together is to understand how much we’ve been forgiven. If we really understand the depth of forgiveness we’ve received from God, we become humble.
If I can see myself alongside my 'EGR' sister, but from God’s point of view, well, then, I have no basis for putting myself above her. I have to forgive whatever it is about her that sets me off, whatever it is that has hurt me, 'even as God in Christ has forgiven me.'
After all, where would I be if God Himself had looked down on me, in all His perfection and in all my imperfections, and had chosen to just avoid me because I required a little too much grace. Where would I be if He hadn't cared enough for me to forgive me for all the wrongs I have done, and to extend grace and compassion to a sinner like myself. Where would I be.
As that infamous Casting Crowns song says, "Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt." I'm no better than anyone else, and require no less grace than the next person. We all need forgiveness. We all need some grace.
I can't say I've achieved the ability to see others from God's point of view, but I can say that this will be my prayer and my desire. I am making it my goal to cover those 'EGR' people in my life with prayer, asking God to show me ways to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving.