Why I Stink at Giving Grace to Others

by Jon Acuff

Sometimes I like to think I’m good at this grace thing.Mostly this happens after I have listened to the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Having been hit with the audio waves of that fantastic chorus 92 times, I take my headphones out and make some strong declarations.

“This is it! I’m going to show other people grace! I am going to walk on water and be bold and brave and yay #TeamGrace!”

I don’t pronounce the word “Hashtag” out loud because I’m not 13 but in that moment, I do get ready to live with so much grace.

Until, I run into these three situations and realize I stink at grace:

1. When someone walks across an intersection I’m at and doesn’t hustle.
You see me. I know you see me waiting in my car for you to finish crossing. We’re making eye contact and I swear you actually slowed down. Why did you choose this moment to go all desert tortoise on me? Can’t you at the bare minimum do that awkward “intersection run/walk” gallop we all do when we realize a car is waiting for us to go? Is that too much to ask? I’m sure that when someone crossed in front of Jesus’ donkey he blessed them, but I’m not there yet. I’m not “make whip angry” which is the only level of anger Christians think they can have, but I’m not giving you much grace right this second.

2. When you poorly wrap my burrito.
I see a fissure right there. Before you’ve even encased it in the outer protective shell of aluminum foil, I can see a fault line developing along the southern hemisphere of my burrito. That crack is only going to get bigger. The second I bite into it my burrito is going to transform into a burrito bowl, collapsing under the weight of the Mexican goodness packed within. I don’t want you to start over, but a double wrap feels necessary. And if it’s not a split, the other crime against burritomanity is when one end isn’t properly closed. The bottom of the burrito is supposed to be the best bite. That’s where all the fantastic collects as you eat it from the top, sending flavors and salsas and quesos to the bottom creating one last super bite. But you didn’t seal it right so it looks like a busted flower, akin to the times bugs bunny put something at the end of Elmer Fudd’s shotgun and it exploded in his face. Jesus might forgive you, but I don’t.

3. When someone is slow to get off a plane.
Clearly I am not withholding grace from someone who has a legitimate reason to get off planes slowly. I am talking about people who act surprised that we have touched down and that there are 324 people behind them who would like to leave the plane now. We dropped 30,000 feet out of the sky. How did you miss that the earth, the very planet we inhabit, was getting closer to us? Remember that moment when the wheels squealed and it felt like we were on ground? It felt like that because we are. All of us. I’m not expecting you to exit the plane as fast as me. I’m like the Michael Jordan of leaving planes. I’m a pro. I would just like you to not gather items one by one, like some game of airplane pick up sticks. On the flip side of this one is the person who doesn’t have a connection to make but still jumps up and sprints as far as they can go down the aisle as soon as the plane lands. I’m not sure Jesus has ever been on a plane, though I do know he takes the wheel of cars, but I’m pretty even he would not be cool with that move. We all want to get off the plane Usain Bolt. There’s a widely accepted unwritten rule that you get off aisle by aisle. Accept it.

Do those things make me sound petty? I hope so because the goal of this post was to say, “Yes I am petty.” And prone to thinking the stupidest things while waiting for a burrito to be made.

Turns out I still stink at grace. I was going to say that I suck at it but then I’d have to enter into a long email exchange about my usage of that word. I would look up the Germanic roots, writing a detailed response that it was initially a farming term. You would argue it’s a swear and that I’m going to get a sofa bed in hell. And then I wouldn’t give you grace. So full circle. Let’s avoid that. Let’s instead go with the much safer, yet just as obvious statement, “I stink at grace.”

What’s one situation in life where you realize you’re not great at giving people grace?

www.stuffchristianslike.net. Used by permission.

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