This past summer I spoke at a conference in Dallas on the topic of encouragement. It probably was a bit too topical in spots, but I did draw from the life of the Levite, Joseph, in scripture, a man who was such a blessing to others that the church nicknamed him “Barnabas” (or “son of encouragement”). My point was that one of a Christian’s fundamental tasks is to nurture or exhort others toward Christlikeness (see Paul do so with Timothy in II Timothy 2:15-21).
Posts Tagged ‘grace’
Earlier this week I discussed a basic rule in life: do the right thing. A handful of people responded that sometimes that isn’t good enough …. for others. They told me stories of when they followed a rule, acted in healthy ways, stood up for what was right, or showed genuine compassion for another and the reaction from a supervisor, teacher, coach, or pastor/youth pastor was anything but appreciative. The message communicated: Not good enough. Message delivered loud and clear. But I did what you wanted me to do!
For instance: read more…
This week I’ve been reflecting on grace a bit and how little of it there is between people, even in Christian circles where grace is an overarching theological theme. Yesterday I tried to be graceful to a semi-truck driver as he made the turn onto a bridge and couldn’t quite swing it. Since I once drove truck for a summer, I could instantly relate and I didn’t advance in my left turn lane (coming toward him) as the light turned red. He could then make the swing-out and not block 3 lanes of traffic indefinitely. He appreciated it. Lovely.
Except the guy behind me thought differently. As soon as I did this, he started yelling out his window. The whole delay cost him about 7 seconds, but as he drove past me (and we still made the light), he proceeded to say some ugly ugly things to me. For being graceful.
This week we’ve been thinking about grace, a word that is used a lot in Christian circles, but seems more difficult to put into practice with others. Yesterday we used U2′s fantastic song “Grace” as our starting point. One of the lines in the piece states “Grace finds beauty in everything.”
This is best illustrated when a child’s art project suddenly collapses or breaks and a parent steps in to help show what beauty remains. The child is in tears and fears that nothing good can come while the parent lovingly moves in and begins to help reassemble, rearrange, and repair. In a few minutes, the child begins to see that all is not lost and he/she regains hope for making something beautiful again. As the child moves back to creating, the parent begins to step aside and watch the child work happily.