Today I read Ephesians 1-4 and chapter 5 in Integrity. There is a huge theme of grace running through my mind right now. The fact that Christ came to secure for me a future that I could not secure for myself and one that I didn’t deserve is the ultimate expression of grace. Jesus looked out for me even when he didn’t have to and I wasn’t asking him to. He did so as a humble servant who showed me his love in the ultimate expression of his grace to me. Not only did he do this for his people the Jews but he did it for us Gentiles as well showing that his grace and love had no bounds. The Lord is trustworthy and it makes me think about my own trustworthiness.

In the Integrity book Cloud talks about this grace that builds trust with others and looks out for others needs regardless of whether or not they deserve it or are even thinking about it themselves. This type of trustworthiness and grace solidifies relationships and lets others know that you are in their corner and you will look out for them even when they are not looking and even when you don’t have to. That allows people to have great relationships together because they ultimately know you have their back. Reflecting on this in light of several situations I am dealing with right now I can see places where I do have grace and look out for people and I also see times when I have not done as good of a job as I should do. In my current situation I am struggling with someone who will do a great job validating people verbally but then goes on to block the things that were validated if the person does not understand or it is not going in the direction this person thought it should go. That sets the tone for the rest of the group and causes people not to respond as they normally would. I have another situation with a person that I know would never have my back when I am not there unless it was a benefit to that person. The person will get things done and even help at times but if push comes to shove, that person is only going to look out for their personal interests.

Thinking about this, the reading this morning on grace really strikes home. Grace looks out for the other person even when they are not grateful, are spiteful, take you for granted, etc. There are no real conditions on true grace, it just flows out from out character when it is present. I really want to be a person of grace on a consistent basis. It is easy for me to have empathy for others and to figure out how they are feeling as I engage with them as long as I am focusing on understanding instead of making a point. If I am focused on making a point or debating, it is easy for me to miss the things that would give me clues into what the other person is feeling. If I don’t empathize, I end up invalidating what they think or how they feel and that just leads to a bad outcome where I will have to apologize later. I really want think about this more in light of the people I know above and my own responses to others when things are not going my way.

Lord, help me to be a man of grace who gives unmerited favor others. I want to be someone who is trustworthy and who models the grace that I have received from you and receive from others. Give me your eyes to see what is happening for others so I can respond with grace. Amen.
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