Instead of Gratitude, Think Grace
By Michelle Sala Integrative Health Coach
Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and many of us try to make gratitude part of our daily lives, but how valuable is gratitude if we are not accepting grace for ourselves or extending it to others? At this time of year when we get together with family and friends, practicing grace may be a game changer.
Relationships are a funny thing. They can be the most painful experiences or the most joyful experiences. Many time we experience both extremes within the same relationship, especially if it involves a spouse, child, parent or other family members and friends.
I’ve listened to stories from friends and family members and see that most of us have some level of dysfunction in our families. I’ve recently seen longtime friendships implode. Your BFF may not be your BFF after all. Jealously, pettiness, and silly misunderstandings get in the way. Those of you who don’t have family feuds or long-held grudges, consider yourself lucky and blessed!
We should live in the moment; Life is short. Give people the benefit of the doubt. While I don’t condone ongoing mental, emotional or physical abuse (sometimes we need to separate ourselves from this type of abuse if the abuser is unwilling to get help), let go of the past without rehashing who was at fault. Assume people have grown and are different. Give people grace just as God has forgiven you by grace alone. This means unconditional, no strings attached.
If you cannot extend grace to others, have you really accepted the grace God has extended to you? To accept God’s grace for yourself but then not give grace to others is a huge shortcoming. Ask yourself why are you not extending grace to others? Why not bury the hatchet with your sister? How does it serve me to maintain this contentious position that I have with my father? If you can’t answer any of those questions in a rational manner, please seek spiritual or professional counseling.
Pray that God would give you the power to let go of the past. Accept people for who they are now, not who they were 20 years ago. Consider that their journey may be as difficult as whatever you’ve gone through or are going through.
Practicing grace and selflessness is the key to successful relationships. Give thanks that it is never too late to repair broken or dysfunctional relationships. Make this holiday season one of renewal.
Happy Thankgiving to you and yours!
With love & peace,