"Grace and Library Cards"

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By: Debra Weiss

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3 (NIV)

"Do you have any idea what you've done?" My voice was rising with each word I spoke to my fifteen-year-old sister. "Do you know how bad this makes me look?"

"I know. I'm sorry."

My younger sister had lost a library book. A library book she'd checked out my library card. My mom had agreed to pay the fee, but that wasn’t the point.

The damage to my responsible reputation at the library would now be ruined. I would be one of the “those” card holders. One of the ones that would forever get the evil eye from the librarians. One of the ones whose books would always be carefully inspected for even a hint of damage.

"I know you're sorry, but sorry doesn't fix this." I said. I was one second from losing it. How could you be so totally irresponsible with something that didn't even belong to you to start with? I wanted to yell.

As I started mentally counting, I heard a voice ask, "Haven't you done that before, Debbie?"

"Done what? Lost a library book? I don't think so, God."

"Haven't you done things that reflected poorly on my name?"

I cringed as memory after memory surfaced--yelling at my sisters, the foul word that slipped out when I stubbed my toe, the unkind way I'd spoken to a friend only hours before.

Yet God had been gracious to me. With each mistake, He showed me that His Son had already covered the cost. Instead of condemned, I was free. I dragged God's name through the mud again and again and again ... only to receive mercy ... again and again and again.

As I thought about it, I couldn't help but feel ashamed of my behavior. Turning toward my younger sister, I apologized for my behavior and said, “This isn't that important. Don't even worry about it."

In moments when you’re tempted to carry a grudge over someone else’s wrongdoing, stop and reflect on all the times you’ve sinned against God. Confess your unforgiving attitude and ask God to help you extend grace to those around you.

Dear God, when I am tempted to remind someone else of their sin, addiction, or shortcoming, help me to look at Your Son instead. Help me to remember all the times You’ve been merciful to me when I didn’t deserve Your kindness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Ponder: Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV)

Apply: Think of someone you haven’t forgiven. Ask God to forgive you for your unforgiving attitude and make a decision that with Christ’s help, you will forgive. Next time you are tempted to remember this person’s sin, say, “I have forgiven this sin and I will not think about it.”

Read: A Young Woman’s Walk with God: Growing More Like Jesus by Elizabeth George

Share: How does withholding forgiveness from others impact your daily walk with Christ?

© 2010 by Debra Weiss. All rights reserved.

Debra lives outside of Charleston, SC. She enjoys journaling, road trips, good music, learning new things, lemon filled Krispy Kremes, and hanging out with friends and family. She loves worshiping God because when we worship God, we are acknowledging that He is Supreme Ruler of our lives. After growing up in a Christian home, at the age of 13, she decided to be an atheist. Yet God searches after each prodigal relentlessly. When she was 16, she rededicated her life to Jesus Christ and has been seeking Him ever since.

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Anonymous Nikole Hahn said...

And I'm one of those people who are almost always late with library books. I figure they make money off of me. LOL.

Blogger Lynn Cowell said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! I just got an email reminder last night that I have four overdue!

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