The floors of our house were thin ice for a while. Our daughter has been getting upset easily – she’ll go from 0 to 100 in a second. Mostly just typical kid tantrums. I’ve been less patient. Once in a blue moon will I have such a bad day that I take it home with me. Those days have been happening more frequently. My wife has a lot on her plate and it’s usually the external forces that will set her off: hunger, stress, lack of sleep. When you have a baby, those things seem to pile up.
In times like these, your first instinct is not to think it’s all just you and the mood you’re in. The first thing is you blaming them for how they’re acting. I give my daughter no wiggle room. If she doesn’t do it the first time, then she’s being deliberately disobedient. If my wife is bothered by anything, then I’m annoyed that she’s annoyed. I blame her; she blames me…
and that’s how the fight began. Just kidding. Kinda.
Then later through a Facebook conversation I realized that I have a double standard with my family. My wife casually made a self-deprecating comment, “no one mistakes me for being a perfectionist.” All in good fun, but I took offense to the idea that someone else would be critical of her.
Compare that to all the times, the day before even, where I’m personally critical of her. Typically it comes across as me having expectations of her that she doesn’t meet. I set the bar high. In my subconscious I expect her to be happy, fed, productive, helpful, etc. The same goes for my daughter: polite, well-behaved, focused. Humans just don’t work like that.
I have no idea what they went through today. You’ve had those days that a snide look, a snarky comment, or a long meeting just sets you off? Well, how many times did my wife lose sleep for a crying baby? How many times did she get taken off track today cause he was fussy? There are the postpartum issues that make a mother feel inadequate, judged, or an all out failure. Can I even put myself in the shoes of my daughter who has seen a change in neighborhoods, schools, churches, friends and now a new brother? I diminish her feelings of loss and use the old-school “get over it” technique.
Still I have busy schedules, work drama, or car issues that I carry home and expect them to understand my dilemma. Why can’t they just give me a little grace?
Why can’t I see that all they need is a little grace?
Truth is this blog has taken me over a month to finish because every time I want to publish it we’ve had another dramatic episode. And if I wrote it with this polished solution, I’d feel like a hypocrite knowing that I haven’t perfected it yet. But hey, could you give me a little grace? No one’s perfect, right?
I can’t help but think of God’s grace for us. We have no right to stand in His presence, yet grace covers us. In fact, we expect it of Him. I’m OK cause I know “His grace reaches me.” Jesus came to display it in action. Time and time again showing grace to those who least ‘deserved’ it (note: you won’t ever deserve it, that’s why it’s grace).
So here He is: our model, our example, our blueprint. Take a second to compare the unwarranted grace you’ve been given and try, just try to do the same.
Rewritten: I need to take a second to compare the grace I’ve been given and try to do the same.
“But I’m right, and they’re wrong.”
“But I’m not being understood.”
“But they’re being critical.”
“But they’re disobedient.”
“But they started it.”
Yeah. So? Wouldn’t you want grace extended to you? You think they should because you know exactly what you’ve gone through. The bad day you’ve had. But they’re not going to understand, even if you try to explain it. In that case, show them grace. Don’t expect it. It’s vital from both directions.
Grace shouldn’t be given only when it feels justified. It’s an unwarranted, unexpected, unselfish gift.