We are living in turbulent times. Our society seems to be full of crime, poor decisions, and a general lack of concern for our fellow human beings. Every day, the news reports of guns, drugs, burglaries, and so on, and it seems a lot of people are afraid. So many people seem to have lost their way and don’t know where to turn. The divide between the wealthy and the poor seems to grow bigger each day. We have a homeless problem, a drug problem, a crime problem and what appears on the surface, to be a lack of concern for trying to solve these serious problems. Many of us want to do something to help but are unsure of where to begin.
While thinking about these big issues, I remembered a conversation I had with my father several years ago, when I was taking him to physiotherapy. During the drive across town to his appointment, we witnessed a traffic accident. Thankfully no one was hurt in the fender bender, but both parties jumped out of their cars screaming profanities at each other. One blamed the other for the accident and they started to push and shove each other. It was at this point that the police showed up and directed traffic to go around the accident.
My father seemed really upset by what we had witnessed because of the behaviour of the drivers. He couldn’t believe that grown men would get on like that in the middle of the street. Dad said it was obvious that neither driver had meant to hit the other and that it was simply an accident. He said that neither driver had given the other grace.
Dad explained that God’s grace was undeserved favour. God’s grace isn’t earned, but it is freely given. God forgives our mistakes. He sees our poor choices, watches us learn from them and then doesn’t judge us but rather gives his grace to us. Dad said he thought the world was lacking in grace because people had forgotten God’s grace to each and everyone of his believers. Dad said, if we gave our grace to the people we encounter on a daily basis then how much better would the world be. We don’t know the circumstances behind people’s behaviour. We don’t know the trials and tribulations people go through every day and we shouldn’t judge people for poor choices. Only God can judge us for our behaviour when we face him at the gates of heaven, so here on earth, we should give others our grace and not assume that we know what is going on in someone’s life.
The car accident that day, and that conversation on the way to physiotherapy, changed me more than my father ever imagined. I see people in terrible circumstances every day as I travel around the city. I see those who stand at the traffic lights with cups. I see the people stumbling up the road in the middle of the day. I see the angry people screaming at each other on the streets. Since my conversation with dad so many years ago, I try not to rush to judgement regarding these people. Instead, I think, but for the Grace of God, that could be me. I remember dad’s sage conversation about God’s grace, and I try to offer people who appear to be in trouble, my grace and pray that God will give his grace to these people as well.
God bless you all!