4 Steps to Showing Others Grace
BY: NIKKI MICHELLE CHARNSTROM
When someone you love betrays your trust or disregards your feelings, it hurts like no other. Relationships aren’t perfect, yet we hold them to this impossible standard of excellence. Why do we continue to set our expectations so high when it comes to our loved ones? We know there will come a time when they will let us down again, so how can we relieve the pressure?
Grace. It all comes down to grace. Giving others the freedom to make mistakes and fail, in turn, releases you from the bondage of expectation. When you trip up and don’t follow through, what do you want more than anything? GRACE! Showing grace when it’s not easy is something I’m still working on — if we’re being honest. It takes time for grace to become your first response in times when you’d rather pick apart every reason why someone doesn’t deserve it.
So, how can we begin to extend grace to others?
1. React from a Place of Love
Allow love to well up in your heart. Whether it’s someone you just met or a friendship you’ve nurtured for a while, love should always be the first response. This world is filled with enough hatred and selfishness already — be a breath of fresh air. Reacting from a place of love will promote healthy resolutions when it comes to conflict. When you feel anger beginning to rise up from within, take a moment to stop and ask yourself, “Is this going to reflect my love?”
2. Recall the Moments You’ve Been Shown Grace
You’ve fallen short and made poor choices that have made a direct impact on those around you. I’m not here to point fingers because it’s perfectly human — we’re all guilty here. In that moment of failure and disappointment, you hope and pray for forgiveness. It’s as if you’re holding your breath until the person you’ve wronged speaks the words, “It’s OK.” There is freedom found in the relieving act of grace. You know exactly what it’s like to experience mercy, so why not offer that to someone else? Being forgiven and truly accepting grace brings forth peace and gratitude.
3. Don’t Expect Perfection
Those relationships you’ve carefully poured into aren’t going to be all sunshine and no rain. Yet, you so desperately think they will be. Why? Because you’ve literally given your heart — and you expect it to be treated delicately. The thing is, it is not humanly possible to achieve perfection. Yes, we can come very close but eventually we will mess up. If we were perfect there would be no need for grace, however, grace is the very thing that covers our imperfections. Go into a relationship without the expectation to have perfection, instead be prepared to extend grace a thousand times over.
4. Take the Opportunity to Build Up, Not Tear Down
Grace is an excellent tool for strengthening a relationship. It says, “I love you enough to look past your faults and weaknesses.” Conflict creates separation and invites pride into the picture. Sure, we could never go through our lives without it but if there’s a chance to choose grace — do it. When someone we love finds themselves burdened with regret, the only thing to renew their spirit is grace. Rather than using words of a negative nature, make the choice to speak life back into the situation. Chances are, that person has probably been hard enough on themselves already — be the one to build them back up.
I want to be a woman known for her spirit of grace. I don’t want my friends and family to cower in fear when they make a mistake — afraid to tell me because of how I might react. Choosing grace over anger is always going to be far more difficult, but can you imagine how our world would change if we all offered a bit more forgiveness?
I challenge you to make note of the moments you experience grace. Pay attention to the way your thinking begins to shift when suddenly shame is no longer apart of the equation. Once you feel the positive repercussions of grace, I invite you to join me on this journey of extending forgiveness one relationship at a time.
Nikki is the owner and founder of Crowned Chics. She lives in the warm desert of Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved family. If she's not ferociously clanking away on her typewriter, she's behind the camera capturing moments for her business Charnstrom Captures Photography.