Yesterday I wrote a post I’d hoped to publish today. Last week I had an encounter with a boy I didn’t realize was autistic. I wrote about being convicted that I shouldn’t be more patient, loving and kind because someone has special needs. We all have special needs. We all have a backstory, struggles and hurts.
I loved that epiphany. I appreciated God showing me I need to slow down, take time and give grace to everyone.Although it’s embarrassing to realize I have different standards and levels of patience and tolerance for “regular” people, I was grateful for the revelation and challenge of trying to see everyone as God does; special, deserving of love and worthy of time and attention.
But that was yesterday.
This morning I left for my discipleship group as I always do. Late. I flew out the door angry and frustrated. Why am I always late? Why can’t I leave calmly and in a timely, organized fashion? But when I’m crazy and late, I don’t take ownership. I plow people over who are “in my way” and blame them for my perpetual tardiness.
On my way to church a truck on the freeway started tailgating me. I couldn’t go any faster because of the car in front of me and I couldn’t get into another lane. So in Jesus’ name, I decided to let Truck Guy know he was following too closely and tapped my brakes. He didn’t like that and got closer, so I did it again. Once I could change lanes to let Truck Guy pass, I suppressed my intense desire and longing to flip him off. We shared glances and mouthed loving words to each other as he went by. I flew into church (no, the irony is not lost on me) and tried forgetting my morning.
Afterwards, however, I began feeling remorseful. Remorseful I left the house angry and irritated, again. Kind of remorseful I wanted to flip someone off. Remorseful I can one day passionately desire to love others and the next try running them off the road.
After praying and lamenting about this for a while, God reminded me of some things. He reminded me I’d recently been asking Him to help me stop being so judgmental. He also reminded me Christ doesn’t love me more when I write a post about an autistic boy than He does when I swear at people and He challenged whether I really believed that. He reminded me how beautiful and broken we are and how we can love then loath almost simultaneously. He reminded me I can be helpful and hateful in a single day. In a single hour. In five minutes.
But His grace covers it all.
The more deeply we mess up, the more grace means to us. The more repeatedly we fail, the more grateful we are for forgiveness. The more grace we’ve been given, the harder it becomes to justify failing to extend it to others, repeatedly…
Every day. Every hour. Every five minutes.