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Giving Grace

A few months ago, I watched my niece moderating as her young sons played a game. They were doing the usual banter kids do in competition: calling each other out on the rules, watching to make sure the other didn’t gain some advantage in a way that was not “fair,” often with the admonition, “You can’t do that!” And finally, “Mom!”

She intervened gently, saying, “Why don’t you give him grace for that? Remember, he gave you grace before on that other turn?”

I could tell that this is something they had talked about before. Both boys understood “grace” as part of their family dynamic. Sometimes you give it and sometimes it is given to you. It keeps the peace and keeps the game going.

I have thought about this often in the context of our adult relationships. There is power in the ability to give grace. Most of the time, it costs nothing, sometimes, it costs a lot. Sometimes it is easy to give, done almost without a second thought. Other times,it is very hard, and we wonder if our grace is being taken advantage of. It takes effort, and trust, and something like love to give grace with no expectation that it will be returned, or with the certain knowledge that it will not.
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