Extending Grace

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:29-31

This week I took my girls school shopping.  At one store, while making a purchase, the sales associate offered me a discount if I applied for the store credit card.

I politely declined and began filling out my check.

She continued her offer, pointing out, that as a cardholder, I could receive more discounts in the future.

Glancing up from checkbook, I met her gaze and again politely declined.

When she finished totaling my order she reminded me how much I would save if I applied for the credit card.

I firmly and somewhat politely declined her offer and handed her my check.

She further explained that I could open the account and then write a check, not leaving a balance on the card.  Glancing at my three daughters, who were all watching this escapade with great interest, I smiled.  I could see their wheels turning.  I looked at the associate and politely said, “I realize you are doing your job, but I’m really not interested.  Thank you.”

Later, at the dinner table, one of the girls recounted the scenario to my husband.

It was followed by comments from her sisters, such as, “When Mom says “no” she means it, don’t ask again!” And, “It’s rude to be so persistent, especially when you’ve been given the answer.”

My husband and I exchanged glances.  While this certainly seemed a teachable moment to discuss credit cards, making smart financial decisions, and how credit scores are calculated; another issue needed addressed first: the tone of this conversation.

While the truth was told in the retelling of our experience, the tone of the conversation was not one of grace.  Not one which would please our Lord.  Not one, He would use with us.

Annoyed throughout the experience, honestly, that annoyance grew every time the clerk revisited the subject.  Yet, I knew this was an opportunity to practice what I preach to our daughters and ‘Do to others as I would have them do to me.’

As our conversation continued, we pointed out the need to extend grace.  We did not know the clerk’s situation.  Did she receive a bonus with each new credit card application?  Did her family suffer from financial stress?  Did she have a sick family member whose care accumulated large hospital bills?

We had no idea, and probably never will.

Yet, it made us all stop and think.  We never know all the reasons people do what they do.  We need to extend grace to each other as God has to us.  We need to follow the Golden Rule.

Reflections:

Monday:

Recount a time when God did not give you what you deserved.  Upon that realization, how did you feel?

Tuesday:

Memorize Ephesians 4:29.  We all fail in this area at times.  How can we remember to consider our words before they roll off our tongues?

Wednesday:

Memorize Ephesians 4:30.  How can we apply those words to our daily conversations?

Thursday:

Memorize Ephesians 4:31. Recounting a true tale in an unflattering light can be slanderous.  How can we end slanderous chatter and slanderous thoughts?

Friday:

The ‘Golden Rule’ doesn’t dictate we get walked all over in the name of Jesus.  Think on ways to firmly stand your position, whether it be declining a trip to the bar after work, dealing with a belligerent neighbor, or declining a store credit card.

Thanks for reading!  Please return by Monday, August 12 for the next post.

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