Do you remember the Wendy’s commercial from the 80’s with the grumpy old lady bellowing out, “Where’s The Beef?!”
That got me thinking about the demands and conditions we put on our relationships. In a desperate effort to get our own needs met and demands fulfilled we neglect this key area in our relationships and so I ask the question, “where’s the grace?!”
As a therapist, I have the great privilege of walking through some of life’s most fragile moments with people; death, divorce, infertility, parenting, as well as addictions and marriage counseling. Regardless of the issue a client comes in with I am seeing a common thread…grace.
While we are all sinners and all desire God’s unmerited grace toward us, we have become stingy with extending grace to others and to ourselves.
We hoard it as if it were a discontinued item on the clearance aisle. We insist that others earn the very grace that God so freely lavished on us or worse, we justify why the person is not entitled to it at all.
So just what does it look like to withhold grace?
1. Expecting/demanding something from the other person that you are not willing to reciprocate.
2. Being unwilling to forgive or accept personal responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behavior.
3. Taking responsibility or blaming yourself for things outside of your control.
4. Refusal to accept the other person for who they are and where they are in the process.
This is dangerous territory.
We may attempt to justify withholding grace due to our own deep hurts and wounds; other times it is the direct result of sinful choices. In either case it grieves Gods heart when we refuse to extend the grace that has been lavished on us so freely.
How have you experienced…
Grace withheld by another?
Grace freely given?
God’s lavish grace?
Let me know what you think about withholding grace and how that has impacted you and your relationships.