Tuesday, September 02, 2008

surprised by grace . . . in human form

Recently, I've gotten to know the fiance of one of my ex-boyfriends. The story of the ex is not one that I'm proud to tell, and I dread thinking of what he most have told her about though. Though he handled the break-up harshly, he emerged months later with a surprisingly sincere apology. That apology, along with the encouragement of others, has helped me to forgive him and respond gracefully. Another surprise arrived when his fiance proved herself to be very kind and friendly toward me, and genuinely interested in knowing a little about me and my current life. Given my history with this ex, I was a little cynical about her actions. She was acting too casual and comfortable with me, surely she does not know about my history with her fiance! It didn't seem humanly possible for her to not display any awkwardness or bitterness, so I quickly assumed her ignorance. This concerned me, because this meant that he wasn't being upfront with her, the women he's going to marry! I wrote him an email telling him that I liked her and asked if she knew about us. He responded and told me that yes, he had told her about our history.

This meant that I had to rethink my impression of this woman. She wasn't just kind and friendly toward me because she thought I was any other girl, she acted in kindness toward me knowing my history with her soon to be husband, knowing the details of that relationship. In spite of this knowledge, that in me would have easily bred jealousy or worse emotions, she overcame this and extended grace, and in my kindness to her, I have extended her and him grace. I find these sorts of experiences somewhat remarkable, something that doesn't seem humanly natural, something that must be the work of the Spirit. I also see that this is one of those experiences that displays my natural tendency to often believe the worst about people, to have trouble believing their goodness for goodness sake. It's a humbling experience, but I feel blessed by it. I have a hard time grasping the idea of God's grace and what it really means, so these little human experiences of it can give me a glimpse of what the supernatural grace might be like. And these examples encourage me to continue to forgive and extend grace towards those who have wronged me, following a path that is both freeing for me and the one forgiven.

1 comment:

Cara said...

Thank you for sharing this, Kelly. We can all learn from your honesty.