Monday, August 17, 2015

Grace and Peace to Everyone

"Grace and peace to you." Say this often to everyone. Say it more often to those who are hard to get along with.

Grace and peace-oh if we could really hope for these two incredible gifts for others it would leave no room for jealousy, anger, and bad feelings. It is hard to hold onto grudges if you are truly hoping for grace and peace for another.

I think this is so much harder than it sounds. Why would I want grace and peace for someone who has hurt or offended me? What I want for them is pain and suffering like they have caused me. The truth is we want an eye for an eye. Perhaps we even want 2 eyes and a tongue for an eye.

I am going to try to put these words from Pastor Shawn into my life and see how God changes not only my heart but the hearts and relationships of those against me.

A year ago I had an extremely difficult parent who was always accusing our team of not following her child's IEP and not giving her student the best we could. We were working closely with this family and her kiddo. Each of us was doing everything we could to help him succeed. It was never enough. The stress from this parent even gave me a physical eye twitch.

 Finally, it occurred to me that although she was negatively impacting my life how much harder it must be to be her. Her lack of trust of others and their motive and commitment must be exhausting. It is probably not only mistrust of school personnel. She probably has a hard time not controlling other aspects of her life. I changed my heart for her and replaced my frustration with empathy. Our relationship and interactions changed drastically. There were still moments of friction but the tone changed. I was not seeing my part in the situation. It wasn't just her who was mistrusting. After the accusations flew I became defensive and pulled away too. 

Hoping for grace and peace for everyone benefits us as much as it benefits them. Too often our response to others widens the gap between us in a difficult relationship. Putting grace and peace in the middle brings healing to both sides.

Grace- "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it" 
Peace-is an occurrence of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility and retribution, peace also suggests sincere attempts at reconciliation, the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.

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