Such a magical idea
September 27, 2006
The other night I had a disturbing dream. In the dream, I had made a misjudgment on budget and in time it had come to light. I feared its consequence. I wondered, would people give me space, or am I done in? I woke in a sweat.
There are times, when in the heat of debate I go for the jugular. But often people's feelings are hurt because they take what I say personally. And I end up knowing my only recourse is to call or write, offering an apology, asking for forgiveness.
Grace, that magical and powerful idea covers the horizon of kingdom-landscape, an idea irretrievably linked to the other-side of the coin, mercy. Grace: I get what I don't deserve; mercy: I don't get what I do deserve. Mercy for another set of notes.
Leadership implies I understand self and others. Christian leadership goes further, understanding human nature through the lens of the cross. Even so we must make judgments on competence, values and effectiveness. Accountability requires such.
While it may feel less onerous to overlook a person's failings in a task or position, grace is not an emotional catch-bag that overrides our responsibility to make a judgment.
Grace does not imply doing an annual review through rose-tinted glasses. It doesn't fool us into seeing what isn't. Rather in knowing what is, we extend opportunity to the person to try again.
Grace, like love, is what we receive as we give. The more loving one is, the more others will love in return. As we extend grace to others, the more likely it will be returned.
In that exchange we all receive an extra mile to search out and prove our potential.
By the way, the dream ended early and I never did find out people's response.
Dear Author of grace, You who from eternity give me what I don't deserve, fit on me the glasses of grace. Adjust my myopic eyes of fallenness with the fitting of grace. Also keep me from a quasi spirituality that assumes grace and being nice are synonymous. Yet in the doing, may my tendency to see narrowly and for the short-term be widened and sharpened by grace. So that even as you give me what I don't deserve, I will be a habitual practicer of grace. Amen.
The presence of grace makes possible our striving for potential.