I was weaving through the maze of cars and traffic, trying to remember where my car was, when out of the blue, a man zipped up behind me in his little black BMW and blared down on his horn.
To say that I was startled would be inadequate. He nearly scared my lunch back out of me.
The noise resounded throughout the concrete walls and pillars. The sound knocked the wind out of me and my pulse raced. It’s not like I was barely shuffling to my parking space. I’m young, healthy, and I was in a hurry. I was shocked, scared, and ANGRY.
Can I just say that I was pissed? Well, I was pissed.
WHO DID HE THINK HE WAS?! Was it really THAT important if it took me two seconds or three to walk in front of his vehicle? Apparently it was to him. He was beyond impatient and I was more than aggravated. I had a few words I wanted to share with the gentleman, and I wanted to teach him some sign language as well. (I do know quite a few signs that would have been appropriate.)
But then there’s Grace.
Grace for the impatient businessman. Or was it grace for the father, hurrying to see his little girl before surgery? I will never know. Either way, he deserves grace for his erratic behavior, just like I deserved grace when I was looking for my car.
The same grace that has always been afforded to me is afforded to every impatient so-and-so who drives us all crazy in traffic. And that same grace calls us all to freely give away what we have been given.
Grace isn’t blind. It’s not cheap, and it’s most certainly not easy. Grace is the strength I had to forgive my abuser. Grace is the strength you have when you give your drunk spouse a second chance. Or your cheating spouse. Or your deadbeat dad. Or your addicted mother.
Grace is more messy than beautiful. It isn’t blind or stupid. Extending grace to someone does not mean you excuse what they’ve done. It means you choose to recognize the brokenness of another in light of the grace you have been given. Grace is sometimes as simple as taking one more second to say, “I don’t know the spot they’re in,” taking a deep breath, and just moving on. Moving on, when you’d really like nothing more than to obsess over a fault.
Grace means seeing the person in front of you as a human being. Not just a horn honker. Not just a red light-runner. Not just an addict, or a cheater, or a liar. A person. We see the person in front of us as a human being, and then we respond in light of God’s attitude toward us, not the actions we’ve observed. In a world full of quick judgements, where hearts and minds are filled with thoughts of fairness and our own selfish agendas, Grace chooses to see it all and love the person in front of us anyway.
There is grace for the horn-honkers of the world, just like there is grace for you and me.