The challenge of showing grace

As we continue to look at what Jesus had to say about various aspects of how we can relate better, we settle on the challenge of what being gracious is about. If you’ve been on the planet for more than a handful of years, you’ve probably discovered that making relationships work can take a lot of grace!

Let’s face it, none of us are the same: we have different personalities, different histories and, mostly, different expectations; and that’s true even within the body of Christ. When we consider the great variety of people that we come into contact with on a day-to-day basis, it can be quite challenging to negotiate our way through the mixture of differences and conflicts that can crop up from time to time!

In my opinion, Jesus is the master of understanding people: he knew exactly what to say to whom, irrespective of their background, character or agenda. Although I’m no stranger to ‘foot in mouth’ (acting or verbalizing too sharply or quickly), I’ve grown to realise that pressing the ‘delay button’ before we respond is often the best initial response.

Jesus demonstrates this so wonderfully in John 8:2-12. The teachers of the law and Pharisees present him with a woman caught in adultery. The accusers try and use the event as a trap for the Lord and quote the law of Moses, which commanded stoning for the offence. Jesus delays slightly, no doubt waiting for the Father to inspire him and he turns the attention on the accusers with the wise retort, ‘If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Jesus’ words are not just clever, perceptive and full of wisdom, they are wonderfully gracious to a woman in need of grace!

Another thought I had about the passage is this: sometimes those whom we perceive as least deserving grace, actually need it most. Food for thought?