Grace for Others- Four Ways to Give Grace to Others
In part two of three in my "Growing in Grace" series, we find ways to learn how to give grace to other people.
How many times a day do you find yourself encountering opposition, misunderstanding, defiance, differing opinions, etc.? As a wife and mother these are sometimes minute-by-minute occurrences. There are times when my children are given discipline, when my husband and I need to have a crucial conversation, or when I need to step back from a friendship for a while. But, when I can, I like to be able to give others grace. I realize more and more each day that I need that same grace given to me! I mean, who has it all together all of the time? Not me!
Here are four ways to learn to give grace to others:
- Set Boundaries- In Drs. Townsend and Cloud’s wonderful book, Boundaries, we learn that setting boundaries with others gives us freedom. Setting boundaries seems limiting, but honestly, it is honoring to both people. When you have clearly defined boundaries you are able to recognize what is your responsibility in a relationship, and what is someone else's. When you know what you have control over, you can control when you give grace.
- Respect Perspective- They say if you want to truly understand someone you have to walk a mile in their shoes, but then, if you don’t respect their perspective you might find yourself a mile away with their shoes. Perspective is defined as: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. When I have unhealthy, unrealistic, or unfair expectations of others, my ability to give grace to them is nil. Our perspective helps define expectations. While we don’t experience the same thing as another person, we can try to understand where they are in their journey. Don’t miss an opportunity to understand someone else’s perspective. Whether this is their journey in relationships, health, education, spirituality, etc., we can honor others by our attitude about what we expect from them.
- Take a Step Back- Until our prefrontal cortex is fully developed in our 20’s, we always “feel” first. Even as older adults, sometimes our emotions are the first to respond to others. Knee-jerk reactions often don’t allow time to freely give grace to others. If we can learn to take a step back, validate our feelings, and then proceed, we will allow ourselves time to give grace freely.
- Practice Makes Progress- Practice giving grace when you can. It’s like drinking water, the more you do it, the more you want to do it!
There are so many stories of grace from people in my life. The first, and foremost, is the grace I receive from my heavenly Father. But He has revealed other times to me, too:
The older gentleman who spoke gently to my screaming toddler in the store yesterday, smiled at me and reminded me that one day she will grow out of it… The other night when my husband hugged me and loved on me even after I hurt his feelings… When my oldest said he forgave me for getting angry and yelling… When I realized a friend who said something hurtful to me was in a very hard, dark place… I can see that grace opportunities abound. And I write these on the inner parts of my heart to reflect on often.
What stories do you have to share?
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