Extra Grace Required

Do you know anyone who is, well, a little rough around the edges? They always seem to say just the wrong thing at the wrong time? They come across as insensitive and uncaring? These are the people in my life I think of as the EGR people—extra grace required. There is just no explanation sometimes why they are difficult, you can just plan on them being a bit challenging to understand and get along with.

Come to think of it, in God’s eyes we are all probably EGR people. We tend to be easily offended, insensitive to others needs, somewhat thickheaded, and generally obnoxious. Isn’t it funny, though, how we tend to categorize one another and pass judgment on those that are more difficult than we are?

Extra grace required. There are days when we need to apply that idea to our family members, to our boss, our neighbor, and sometimes to ourselves. Some day’s people just seem to be having a difficult time keeping it together. We think this only happens to two-year-olds, but in reality it happens to all of us. For whatever reason, we’re just having a hard time being filled with love.

There is a text in 2 Corinthians 4 that reminds me that we are all like fragile clay jars. One translation calls us “cracked pots”. The good news about this text is that it tells us that God shines the light of Spirit into and through our fragile jars. It is not about being perfect it is about be willing to be a vessel for the light. God understands that we all require extra grace.

Sometimes we forget that God has promised to use us as light-bearers in the world. Our fragile jars run low on power from the Spirit and we lose our luster and beauty. Pretty soon we just end of looking like the old cracked pots that we are. These are the EGR days. What we really need on days like this is a big dose of love and light.

How do you react to those demonstrating EGR days? Most of us want to withdraw from them or strike back. Have you ever tried responding in love when someone is running on empty and looking and sounding like a hungry, mean, black bear? Even if you are rejected, you can still send that person a blessing. You can even do this for yourself!

We are not responsible for the results of sending others love, we are only responsible to share it. Christ reminded us that the new commandment, the one that summed up all of the rest is that we should love God supremely and love our neighbor as ourselves. This is impossible to do if we have not been filled up with the love of God first.

So on days when we feel empty, the first course of action is to spend some time filling up our vessel with love from the Source of love. It will then be possible to have some love for those in our lives demonstrating extra grace required days.