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Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com
Chatty Kelly

Friday, January 27, 2012

Giving the Gift of Grace

Last Friday I spent the day moderating comments on my guest post at Michael Hyatt's blog, and it was a great day. Comments poured in, not only on his blog, but on mine, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Nearly all the comments were positive, except one.  One woman expressed her disappointment on my Facebook page,  "I do have to say tho (sic), that I am a little disappointed that you described yourself as a writer, speaker and then a mom and wife. I think the latter two are more impressive and exciting."

In the past, when I allowed my sense of worth to come from other people's opinions, this one comment would have crushed me. But now, I was able to gently respond to her and let it go, for one simple reason.  She doesn't even know me.

She doesn't know that my husband and I worked together creating my Disqus bio tag line, "Christian: Writer, Speaker, Wife, Mom, Leader."  She doesn't know that I've been married 15 years and this past year of marriage has been our best ever. She doesn't know from the time I was a little girl all I ever wanted to be is a mom. She doesn't know the years that I battled infertility, the pain, the disappointment and the financial cost. And she doesn't know that I have been a stay home mom for 12 years, every moment precious to me. Yet, she felt entitled to inform me of her disappointment in the order that I placed 5 descriptive words (in no particular order) about myself.

I have noticed this sad trend on the way we judge each other in the media. Last June, my sister experienced the tragedy of the accidental death of an infant in her home. Devastation does not come close to describing what she went through. Yet people felt free to put heinous comments about her family in the comments section on media reports.

A local boy in my community was paralyzed by striking his head on a rock as he dove into the river. Someone commented on the media news page he must have been drunk to do something so stupid. His life is changed forever, and that comment (a lie) is just another crushing blow.

Just read any news story that allows comments and you will be disgusted by the sometimes vicious, and always judgmental, way people attack those already down. Why do we do that? What do we judge other's situations so harshly? Why don't we show grace, especially when we have no first hand knowledge?

The Bible is clear that the measure by which we judge is the measure we will be judged by. Judge not, lest you be judged. This isn't an excuse to ignore the sins of others.  We are to speak to our friends, in private. We are to speak the truth, in love.

The comments I've been reading lately in the media are not spoken in love, but in hatred. This practice has become so common place that the word "Haters" has been coined to describe people who do it.

I don't know the solution. But I do know, that my new goal is to assume the best about people, giving them the gift of Grace, with the help of God. No one is perfect. Especially me.

Have you ever judged someone harshly, or left a negative comment?  How do you feel about that now?

Chatty Kelly


Jill Farris said...

I agree with you and I think the anonymity of the world we live in allows some people to say things they would never say in person. A good rule of thumb is to keep our mouth shut about a tragedy and, if we say anything to the people involved, let it be the words, "I am so sorry for your loss."

Jill Farris

Diane Meyer said...

I agree with Jill. Social media, texting, tweeting, etc, encourages us to type things that we would never say in person. It has helped make us meaner, hiding behind our computer monitors and smart phones.

Kelly Combs said...

Amen, Jill. "I am sorry for your loss" is the best thing we could have heard. Thank you for commenting today!

Kelly Combs said...

Agreed. And to what end? Judgment of those we don't even know. I am going to start looking at myself first.

Carmen said...

So true Kelly, and so well written. Grace seems to be a vanishing quality. We don't have the right to speak into peoples lives unless it is asked for, and then seasoned with love and grace. My son recently went through a situation where people assumed things and started giving unwanted advice (texts, messages, etc.) while not even having the slightest clue about what was really happening. I was never more embarrassed for these people...they had it all wrong! Luckily my son has thick skin!!

Freda Large McIver said...

Great blog Kelly.

Danielle Street said...

Hi Kelly,
I found your blog by reading your comment today on Michael Hyatt's page about ways to find a mentor. Then I had an opportunity to read your post, "Giving the Gift of Grace." My father-in-law was helping cut branches off a tree for a friend and fell about 8ft to the ground. He is now a quadriplegic and in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. Sadly, there were a few people who mentioned to him that there may be sin in his life that caused this horrible accident to happen. It deeply hurt my father-in-law, but the Lord has helped him forgive these people for their insensitive words.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God..." (I John 4:7-12).

"Do not judge or you will be judged" (Matthew 7:1).

Lorraine said...

Bless you Kelly! Your words are wise. Your description of social media is accurate and it is true that people feel a sense of freedom in their anonimity. It saddens me because just as what rolls off the tongue is a condition of the heart, so too is what strikes the keyboard and flies into the internet. There are real people on the receiving end...real people with real feelings and real lives....lives which we don't know anything about. Just as you said, this person doesn't know you and you have a story which she has never heard.

It seems I'm much more aware of when grace is given these days...I wonder if that is because it is given so rarely. Thank God that His grace continues on. May we all be vessels used to give grace and to shine for Him.

Keep shining Kelly!

May your story continue to unfold in marvelous ways as the hand of God remains upon you and your steps are guided by His spirit.

Kelly Combs said...

Carmen, I am so sorry that happened to your son, and yes, so thankful he has thick skin! Grace is a vanishing quality, I'm thankful that God never runs out of His!

Kelly Combs said...

Thank you Freda!

Kelly Combs said...

I am so sorry to hear this Danielle. Those people are WRONG about your father-in-law.

I am glad you visited my blog and I hope you will visit again.

Kelly Combs said...

Thank you Lorraine! I, too, am trying to be more aware of grace, when I see it given, and in my own life trying to give more. It is so easy to assume the worst, fly off the handle, or just do our own thing. Grace takes work. Look at the work Jesus did on the cross. For me, and my grace. The least I can do it try ot extend it to someone else.

Thank you for your comments1

Kathryn said...

I read an article about a seven year old boy who wrote a letter to Kyle Williams after he fumbled the ball, and lost the game for them. The little boy cried and cried about him fumbling the ball, and the father asked him if he felt that bad, how did he think Kyle felt? Right then the boy wrote Kyle an encouraging letter. The story is here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/01/7-year-old-writes-letter-of-encouragement-to-49ers-kyle-williams/
I find it amazing that so many people have sent hateful email to this poor guy for making a mistake, that there is no room to consider how he might feel. There was no grace given to him, and then along comes a kindhearted seven year old to remind the world what grace is.

Barbie said...

I've only been blogging for three years and have not yet encountered a comment that was not filled with grace. I have stopped following some very popular blogs because I just cannot understand the hateful things people say, through comments, to one another. I want a blog that flows with love and grace and I always want to extend that to others!

Kari Scare said...

First, I commend you for your bravery in writing this post. So often, we just sit back and take the negative comments as if they are a natural part of blogging that we should accept. It's not. second, thank you for the reminder to judge less and give grace more. I think people, myself included, focus on others as a way to avoid confronting what they need to in their own lives. I need to work on not assuming and instead on encouraging and on the areas in my own life I need to change. I also need to take your example and take a stand for righteousness too. Great post!

Joe Abraham said...

Good perspective, Kelly!

It's true that often many folks make harsh comments. Though it could be labelled 'speaking out for justice', in fact, it is justice that is often being neglected. Your "T.H.I.N.K" principle is worth following!

Kelly Combs said...

Me too, Barbie. Life is too short for anything else.

Kelly Combs said...

So true, Kari. I think often the things that repel us in others lives, are aspects of our own personality that we do not like. I am working hard to try to assume the best about people. It isn't always easy, and quite frankly, it isn't always true. I don't want to be pollyanna, but I do want to give grace when I can.

Kelly Combs said...

Thanks Joe! It's a principle I am going to try to follow. It isn't always easy, but it is a worthy goal.

Kelly Combs said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing it.

Kari Scare said...

Part of this is developing a habit of minding our own business too. Too often, we think we need to know details about the lives of others, and we just don't. The Holy Spirit knows what they need, and so we can just pray for them. Until proven otherwise, we must continue assuming the best. Or, at the very least, avoid assuming at all.

Joe Abraham said...

I agree.