Sometimes we know better but we choose to do it anyway. We choose to be mean over loving. We choose to indulge the injury rather than offer grace. We choose darkness over light. I say choose because it is a choice.
I’m ashamed to admit that I have done this. Too. Often.
One instance stands out in my mind. Maybe because I see a visual reminder every now and then. It makes me cringe.
A few years ago, I chose self-righteous indignation over grace. There was a child who was one of those kids who had the word TROUBLE written all over them. At least that’s what I saw. I did not want her around my kids. She was a number of years older than them. She was sneaky and manipulative. I had every right to protect my kids from her but at the same time I didn’t do it in a way that was kind or gracious.
I wrote her off as a LOST CAUSE. She knew she had done some things I didn’t like and she wasn’t welcome. She stopped coming by.
I still see her around. I don’t know much about her but it appears I wasn’t far off on my prediction. I take no pleasure in this. Instead, it makes me wonder what would have happened if I had handled things a little differently.
Instead of seeing TROUBLE, what if I’d looked closer and saw GRACE. Instead of writing her off as a LOST CAUSE, I saw that she was, instead, a LOST GIRL. What if I’d looked at her and saw how Christ saw me. He saw a LOST GIRL who He offered GRACE to. I wasn’t TROUBLE to Him. He saw the potential of what could be. He still does.
That’s how He sees this girl. It’s how I should have seen her back then.
I wonder too, what would be different today, if back then, I’d offered her friendship and safety instead of being a mama bear with a snarl.
Do we need to protect our kids? Absolutely. I’m not saying we stop protecting them. I’m not talking about abusive relationships here, either.
But I think there are times we can protect them but still offer grace and love to the ones we are protecting them from. Especially when it comes to kids and teens who bully, who have terrible home lives and who just need someone to believe in them. Sometimes those kids don’t know any better and need someone to show them a better way.
We can still be kind but firm.
We can still be loving but put in rules and boundaries. I think some kids are just crying out for these simple things today because the world is so confusing.
We can still be gracious and say no.
We have a choice to be kind to those in our circles of influence. We think it really doesn’t matter but we can never know the ripple effect of just one small act of kindness. One smile. One grace given. Even if we are in disagreement or trying to protect loved ones.
Would this girl’s life be any different today? I have no idea. Maybe. Maybe not. But I will never know because I made a choice not to be kind.