Wouldn’t it be great if, when we were born, we were supplied with two certificates – our birth
certificate and another certifying that we were fully gifted for demonstrating grace whenever
the need should arise throughout our entire lifetime? This second one would guarantee that we
would never find ourselves in a situation where grace was in short supply. All friends and
family, indeed the whole world would say of us that we were the most gracious, kind, forgiving,
gentle souls they’d ever met. And we’d respond with not a trace of haughtiness or smugness.
That’s in the perfect world that exists only in my brain, or maybe yours, too.
The reality is that no such certificate exists and we are launched on a trajectory containing
multiple, painful circumstances bringing correction and teaching valuable lessons, which, we
were told, we’d come to appreciate later on. Many of my earliest lessons had connection to a
wooden spoon artfully wielded in the left hand of my saintly, if not too longsuffering, mother.
Later, as school was woven into the fabric of my young life, many diverse personalities suddenly
appeared, some, who seemed to own the ‘second certificate,’ others who, quite disturbingly,
had never heard of it and, quite frankly, had no interest in its benefits. As school years
advanced, personalities and gift mixes became more apparent and successfully navigating a
school day as an introvert required the perfecting of avoidance techniques.
It would have been so helpful to have mastered the demonstrating of grace about the same
time we said goodbye to diapers/nappies. But alas! Adulthood, at least for me, continues to be
rife with occasions where demand outstrips supply. I see Jesus dealing with rejection and
threats and massive disbelief, but with calm, with that ever gentle answer, with compassion!
And this leads me to ask: How did he manage to do that? Did he even conquer thinking ‘ugly’?
So, now I’m taking stock of the occasions which call for a demonstration of grace from me.
Where and when am I confronted with a situation, or a person, or a group, where what can
only be described as ‘ugly’ floods my thoughts, formulates keen rebuttals, deliciously loads up
my tongue with incisive, stinging vocabulary? Each of us, according to temperament, is
variously ‘triggered’ by the need to have ample, ready-to-go, measures of grace. Jesus’
example(s) helps enormously in cultivating this supply. There’s a 16 th Century adage which says,
‘Forewarned is forearmed.’ That, and a careful study of how Jesus lived and responded, will give
vibrant, new meaning to the word ‘conqueror!’ Now, I need to get to work and practice what I preach! PD 

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