But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8 (NRSV)
Have you ever had the moment when you look back on something you said or did earlier in life and asked yourself, “What was I thinking?”
Unfortunately, I can think of several instances. There were careless words and actions of my younger self that I’m not proud of. If I had been around me in those younger years, I don’t think I would have liked myself. We probably wouldn’t have been friends.
Yet, isn’t it interesting that God loved and accepted me back then, warts and all. Isn’t that what grace is about? To know that what you see in a person isn’t the final portrait but just one of many? To see the beauty in a person right now, even though there is still a lot that isn’t exactly pretty? To love the unfinished product, just as they are in the moment?
That’s really what grace is all about. It’s the fruit that grows by realizing that each of us is a work in progress. Treating others with respect and patience may bring out the best in them and help them along in their journey.
If God can so love me, cut me some slack, I should certainly be able to do the same with those unfinished works of humanity I see today.
And, of course, one of the reasons I should do that is that I am still quite a bit unfinished. I’m grateful for grace.