Here are a few thoughts on applying grace to your relationships.
When God gifts us with a propensity for a certain virtue, we must see it as a secret of sorts. We shouldn’t expect others to have miraculously acquired it too. It is our own gift, our own tool, our special weapon against darkness. If we grow intolerant of others’ shortcomings in an area that is easy for us, our gift turns into a burden. We will mix bitterness in with our goodness until, eventually, the gift is no longer ours.
Remember also that human nature is to witness a another person’s single mistake, and immediately forget every good thing he ever did. In light of this, there are two things you must endeavor to do. First, be unconcerned when others are ungrateful for what you do, and also when they allow one of your mistakes to erase your good deeds from their memory. People succumb to the sinful nature all the time. We are all works in progress. Let it pass. If you harness your happiness to God’s good opinion, you will always feel appreciated, because He thinks well of all of His children.
The second course of action is to resist this tendency in yourself. The things about your family, friends, and coworkers that drive you insane are the very faults you must practice forgiving. Take every opportunity to remember the good things about them; their unique strengths. More than likely there is at least one small service they do others that they are seldom thanked for. So thank them. And thank God for them, for the way they are forcing you to become stronger.
And this brings me to a fine point of truth. When you grow to truly love someone on the deepest level, it means you have found God inside him or her, and it has overshadowed everything else to you. Use this truth when you are trying to find love for a difficult person. Look for the God in them and believe in it. It makes all the difference, and you may be the only one who can.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him . . . ” Genesis 1:27 (KJV)
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT)
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