No longer ashamed to say it, the truth is I ran away from God for over three decades. Since returning to Him, my way has been illuminated by the light of His extra measure of grace. He has turned my darkest nights into bright days, given me the strength to climb mountains of obstacles, and held my hand when fear has gripped me so hard I have been helpless in its grasp.
As a result of a once chaotic life, my assignment from the Lord is two-fold: to honor Him by helping others find their way to Him, and to encourage those who already believe.
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We judge others—been there, done that. It’s a universal condition that can point us toward God when we realize that trying to stop it solo is impossible.
Several years ago I had a wonderful job, and yet there was this one aspect of it that nearly did me in. My desk was one of many, which means there were quite a few people in one relatively small space. Nearby was a co-worker who, for whatever reason, thought that everyone wanted to hear every detail of her life.
She never ran out of things to say—example: “We’re really just scraping by.” Then, in the next breath, “We’re going on a cruise!” It was a pattern repeated often. I didn’t like the fact that her chatter bugged me. I knew that whatever she said was none of my business. I also knew my negative reactions, although mostly internal, did not please God.
I prayed for understanding, enlightenment, even patience, which can be risky business since acquiring patience can open the door for God to send lots of opportunities to practice being patient. I got no answer—from God or anybody else for that matter. Yes, I confess I was doing my own chattering about the whole thing. Busted!
I prayed some more. “Lord, I feel like I’m a one-woman jury stamping “Guilty” on this woman’s heart. Please help me not to judge her.” God’s conviction comes in all shapes and sizes. This time he whispered, “Grace.” Then, I remembered the acronym:
G – God’s
R – Riches
A – At
C – Christ’s
E – Expense
My head dropped. It was all I could do not to go into a full-blown sob. I thought of all the ways God had extended His grace to me by granting me an abundant life—a life that Jesus had lived and died to give me—grace that was ongoing.
Grace: God’s unmerited favor and the power to do with Him what we could never do in our own strength. He had been with me in over three decades as I ran away from Him—in all the dark spaces and places—the ups and downs—the goodness and the pain.
How could I judge another when my own slate had once been, and at any moment could be anything but clean? Now, when I am disturbed by the words or actions of others I am learning to do what God is asking of me. He says, “See them as I do—people in need of an extra measure of grace.” EGRs (pronounced Eggers):
E – Extra
G – Grace
R – Required
EGR. I don’t remember whether I heard it, read it or if God simply dropped this phrase in me. Oh, this is funny—as I went online to get a picture to accompany this post, I discovered that EGR turns out to be a new slang word on the internet—same meaning as above. Who knew? That’s not how I heard about it, but there it is.
At any rate, giving extra grace is proving to be the antidote for the plague I’ve carried for many years—the spirit of judgment. Now, if I’m disturbed by a person or group of people, I ask God to help me see them with the eyes of one who knows that to someone else, somewhere, I may be an EGR. When I unknowingly say or do things that may get on somebody’s last nerve, I hope they will see that I need extra grace, too. Don’t we all?