BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT GRACE
Posted by Sarah:
A couple weeks ago, I was driving along a neighborhood street when I noticed a city truck stopped in my lane with it's hazard lights on.
I peeked my head around the vehicle before judging that the coast was clear. And then swirved into the oncoming lane, around the truck, and back into my own.
A lady parked at the end of her driveway, waiting to back out on the road scowled at me as I pulled back into my lane.
I had delayed her departure another 1.7 seconds. And her unhappiness registered on her face.
Or at least I think she was scowling at me. A snap-judgment about her rudeness is the first thing that occured to me...right before the second thing, which is an impulse to blare my horn or at the very least, scowl back.
But then, more slowly, it occurred to me (in what seemed like a total epiphany) that the woman could've been scowling for any number of reasons. Maybe she was just perplexed by the city truck in the middle of the road, maybe she couldn't find the garage door opener to close her garage, maybe she was on her way to a job she hated. Maybe the coffee she just tasted was too hot.
Maybe the scowl had nothing to do with me.
An ungracious heart, I reflect, writes the worst possible scenario on every situation. It asumes the other party is blowing me off, purposefully being flippant or sending me some passive-aggressive message.
And sometimes, in these on the fly circumstances, the opportunity for grace is pretty small. There are no clarifying conversations. No heart-to-heart apologizing. No forgiving, crying, hugging.
You won't probably ever do all that with another driver on the road.
But the opportunity for us to give grace in these off-the-cuff moments may be just as important. It may be exactly what allows us to release a bad moment--a driver with road rage, a rude cashier, an inconsiderate fellow customer--and free ourselves to go on about our day unscathed.
Sometimes grace is small, less tangible. Sometimes it's as simple as giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes grace is just not scowling back.
What about you? What small acts have spoken grace in your world?