I remember that morning well. I was sitting at my usual table, waiting for my shift to start at the small coffee shop where I was employed, when she walked in. To say that she was a difficult customer was an understatement to those of us responsible for serving her. My fellow employees and I had our own version of “drawing straws” to see who would have the unfortunate task of taking her order. I remember thinking, “Why does she even come here? She seems to hate everything.”
As I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, by God’s grace, my eyes fell on the passage of Scripture I had just been reading.
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy…” Titus 3:3-5
I was reminded in that moment of what I once was, of my own propensity for evil apart from Christ’s work in my life. For the first time I saw that woman, not as hateful and difficult, but as what she really was…without a Savior.
I wish I could say that was the only time I’ve had to be reminded of God’s great grace in my life…but it hasn’t been. The truth is, we all tend to forget the extravagant mercy God has shown to us. We all tend to think we are more righteous that we truly are. And when we do, we cease to show mercy to others. We become impatient with those around us because we fail to see how patient God has been to us, and we cease crying out for the grace that alone can change us.
As Mika Edmondson once said, “Therefore the Christian life must be marked by gratitude and humility. In and of ourselves, we are no better than our non-Christian neighbors. The only difference is that something (or, rather, Someone) absolutely wonderful has come into our lives and changed everything.”
May we call out for grace to remember the love that has been given to us, so that we may, in turn, bestow that love on others.