So often when listening to Jeff's sermon on Sunday mornings I hit a snag. It's like putting on hose when, rip! Your fingernail gets snagged in the hose and then there's this runner, and it's all you can think about. Unlike the runner, which is a bad thing, I'm usually caught on something really good and my thoughts run away from the sermon and form their own little sermon in my head. (Sorry, Jeff.) :)
This past Sunday, Jeff was up there preaching about grace. He said that it ought to be a given that we extend grace to our fellow church members, but that, of course, we need to extend grace to everyone else. And I don't remember much else after that.
Is it easier to be gracious to our church family than to the rest of the world? Maybe sometimes. But for me, at least in this stage in my Christian walk, many times it's harder for me to be gracious to the people with whom I'm closest. I mean, "those worldy people," we're supposed to extend grace to them. Jesus said to! Everybody's doing it! We don't gossip about them ... we don't even know them! Besides, they didn't really do anything to affect us personally. We'd just as soon keep our distance. It's safer.
But my church family? Christians? They know better! How am I suppsed to be gracious to them if I have to see them every week, and sometimes more often than that! It's hard to pretend like everything's okay if I really have to come in contact with them. It's a lot easier to gossip about them and get people "on my side" than to actually talk to them.
To truly be gracious ... even when "they know better" ... now that's really something.
I'm still working on that one.