My first vivid memory of selfish behavior was in first grade. The classroom was dark-we were supposed to be outside playing. I crept into the room and went straight for my teacher’s desk. There I found the small box containing paper boy and girl cut outs. I quickly shuffled the cut outs around until I found the one with my name. Carrying it carefully, I tip-toed over to the bulletin board, gently removed the name pinned in place, and replaced it with mine.
At the time, it seemed like a done deal. A great defeat. Like I had pulled off the greatest heist in history (given that I was only 6, I didn’t have a lot to compare it to)! I snuck back outside and waited for the morning bell to ring. Upon entering the classroom, with my head held high, I noticed my sweet teacher’s glances. You know what I’m referring to, right? The knowing look…
She never addressed me specifically that day. She actually allowed me to be the “leader of the day”—even though, in hindsight, it is clear she knew what I had done. She had every right to address the matter with me. She could have humiliated me in front of my peers. She didn’t.
Grace. Choosing to give me something I didn’t deserve; unmerited favor. She saw my failure as an opportunity. She saw beyond my behavior and into my heart. She made a significant deposit in my life that day.
I have no doubt that she changed her selection process for “leader of the day.” Our boy and girl paper cut outs probably stayed locked in her desk—no longer accessible for little hands. But she left my heart intact. She gave me grace.
Today is an opportunity to give the gift of grace to someone in my life…someone in your life. We never know how this gift of grace will be received, but let me be an example. I’ll never forget Mrs. Gates and her decision to “grace” me that day.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10