Starting with a Story
Once upon a time, not long ago, it was Grace’s first week back at college. She, of course, experienced the usual syllabus shock and social anxieties. But, overall, her first few days back were smooth. Interestingly, she noticed that a few people who were supposed to be in her classes weren’t actually in her classes.
“Only lazy people miss class during the first week of the semester,” Grace thought, rolling her eyes.
However, just two days after Grace had this haughty thought, she realized how hasty she had been to think it. As she was reading for one of her classes later in the week, Grace began to feel sleepy. She tried to push through but decided to lay her head down for just a moment. Actually, for several moments.
Waking up peacefully, Grace lifted her head and turned to check the time. Staring at her alarm clock in shock, she began to panic. “How did I oversleep? I’m twenty minutes late for class!”
Instantly feeling ashamed and embarrassed, Grace decided it was too late to go to her class. Instead, she began to beat herself up for skipping her class during the first week of the semester. Then, she wrote this post to try to make herself—and perhaps others—feel better.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am Grace in this story. However, unlike my name, I’m often lacking in grace for myself and for others.
I Don’t Fit My Name
I actually believe it’s more important to have grace for others than to have grace for ourselves. However, unfortunately, those who don’t give themselves grace often fail to give others grace. This is the definition of my life.
I feel bad for getting grades besides As. I feel bad for eating a piece of calorie-filled cake. I feel bad for skipping my quiet time.
My lack of grace for myself translates into a lack of grace for others.
I feel annoyed when my classmates are late for class (because I would never be late for class). I feel frustrated when my piano students make mistakes during their pieces (because I would never make mistakes when I play piano). I feel irritated by slow drivers on the interstate (because I always give 100% of my attention to driving). You get the idea.
But Don’t Forget this Truth
Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way and acts this way. Can you relate to how I feel? Can you relate to my lack of grace for myself and for other people?
If so, here’s something we all need to realize and live by:
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:8 ESV)
Though we often say that pride goes before a fall, it’s actually a haughty spirit that goes before a fall. According to Merriam-Webster, the word proud is defined as “feeling or showing pride: such as having or displaying excessive self-esteem.” However, Merriam-Webster defines haughty as “blatantly and disdainfully proud: having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.” Thus, haughtiness is pride taken to the next level.
I knew God was speaking to me when I had that “little fall.” Although my name is Grace, I’m not very gracious—especially to others. Rather, I’m often haughty…and I fell.
Even though I’m not very gracious to others, God was very gracious to me in my story. He used a small thing—oversleeping and missing class—to teach me a priceless lesson. He didn’t use a huge fall to teach me that I need to be more gracious and less haughty.
Welcome to the Real World
Though some of us (like me) expect everyone and everything to be perfect, we forget that we’re living in the real world.
In the real world, people oversleep and miss class (ahem).
They drop classes, fail quizzes, and don’t always take detailed notes. They show up late to work, forget to clock in, and miss deadlines on occasion.They lose their temper with their kids, forget to buy milk at the store, and don’t turn in signup forms on time.
We are human, and we make mistakes. Other people are human, and they make mistakes, too. Hence, grace.
So be gracious to yourself. But, more importantly, be gracious to others. You never know when you’ll need some grace, too.