Anyone who knows me will immediately think of one G word … “Go.” Yeah, high speed and lots of curves. I thrive at full throttle with steep climbs and sharp curves.
That’s not the G word that matters.
Others will say it’s got to be God. Well, that’s a big one. Capital G. Still not there though. Perhaps it’s greatness or goodness, or the flip side: grumpy, goofy, gauche … Regardless, these attributes, relevant or not, aren’t that important.
The G word that keeps flashing through my dreams and thoughts is sobering. And a struggle.
Is it a noun or a verb? Growing up Christian, I heard it and learned it frequently: man is inherently sinful. God freely gives me grace and erases all the gunk, gook, idiocy, mouthiness and moments of madness from my life. Through Christ his son.
But I can’t help but think that grace extends beyond pulpits and prayer clubs. Grace is act of individual will. It extends unmerited favor from one to another.
The flashes and pangs of grace-mindedness are daily for me. They hit like a combo punch from Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang, usually when I:
- Drive behind a moron driving 55 mph in the fast lane on Central Expressway
- Stand in the grocery line behind a lady oblivious to the rest of the galaxy, slowing reading and debating the value of the 25 coupons she just handed the cashier
- Work with others who deliver little more than excuses or blame, yet lord over others with self-importance and arrogance
- Perceive an issue as “petty” while another may not, and continues to chatter, chant, rave and rant, ad nauseum
In each of these real-life cases, I felt a very real pang at the moment I begin my criticism and judgment. “…What about grace, Roy, remember?”
And so I breathe and realize that it’s OK. The slow driver may be new and nervous; the lady in line may be facing the financial crisis of a lifetime; the worker may be ill equipped or in the midst of some crisis that is fragmenting their work performance. And yes, what’s petty to me is irrelevant. If it’s important, then it’s important.
Now blow this up. The world is increasingly anti-grace. We have a conservative pundit attacking an American doctor for being a Christian and a missionary; we have zero-tolerance rules that put teenagers in prison for life—for weed in their cars. We have grandmas and granddads being beaten to death for food, cars and money.
And in the PR profession?Helloooo. We have prima donnas treating junior employees like dogs, interns not being paid for their work and a workplace that’s often cold, harsh and impersonal.
Where is the grace? Where is my grace? The flashes and pangs are reminding me. Helping me. Even encouraging me. They actually rattle me into remembering the countless times I’ve experienced unmerited favor from parents, friends, bosses, colleagues, neighbors and strangers. And God. I can think of at least three times in my life when I did not deserve unmerited favor from someone. If they had chosen zero tolerance, I could have lost everything. Everything.
Grace. Can you find it, face it and pay it forward?
Even now, there’s a circumstance where I’m resisting grace. “They deserve my contempt and wrath …” Yeah. *Pang* *Flash*
Let’s go to work. See the faces. Think grace.
Go home. See the wife. See the kids. Think grace.
Drive to the store. Think grace.
Then do it.
Grace is a verb.
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