Grace is one of those really important things that Christians really hang our collective hat on. The average Christian will say “I am nothing if not for Grace” or “there but for the Grace of God…” And I was reminded this morning of something I once heard.
Grace is important enough that the Father needs us to understand it. To that end, he’ll put people into our lives who absolutely infuriate us just so we have the opportunity to learn. These people are sometimes affectionately, other times not so affectionately, called Grace Builders. These are the ones I find in my life who teach me things like how to forgive, how to be gracious to people I can barely stand to look at, and how to love someone who can barely stand to look at me.
If you still aren’t completely sure what that kind of person looks like here are some ideas. A Grace builder is someone who
- Follows you around taking notes of everything you say so they can criticize you later
- Listens to everything you say so they can taunt and ridicule you
- Someone who goes out of their way to make your life difficult
- Someone who knows how to push your buttons and then goes at it
- Someone who likes to push your buttons because they get a kick out of seeing you respond
In some circles this person is called a bully that needs to be stood up to. This may be true, I don’t know enough about bullies and sociological motivation to speak on that level. All I know is that I am required to forgive, love, and extend grace to this person just the same as everyone else I know. Let me give you an example.
I woke up this morning, read my bible and was all ready to write a blog post about the gospel and some different ideas about what it means to be ashamed of it. Then I felt the LORD speak to me very clearly and say “No you aren’t.”
“But this is a good idea a good blog post!”
“And I got one better.” (Well obviously He had something better – a pen cannot outthink the author!) “I want you to forgive everyone who ticked you off the other day.”
“I did forgive them.” (Which honestly I haven’t)
“No, you haven’t” (see what I mean?) “You’ve simply decided to ignore them. I need you to forgive them.”
“But that one guy is a jerk!”
“Do you know what’s going on in his life? Do you know what pain he’s dealing with or what prejudices he doesn’t know to let go of? Do you know his inmost being? Do you think I designed him to be a jerk?”
“I had been meaning to ask you about that actually…”
“That isn’t my plan for him or for anyone.”
“Ok, I’ll forgive him.”
“And make sure he sees it.”
“He’ll just mess with me some more.”
“Ok Lord, I’ll do it.”
So, to those of you who consider yourselves superior to me for whatever reason and have made a point of hurting me with those things you say. I forgive you. I hold nothing against you and I will pray for your well being and blessing.