When people let you down

Have you spent an enormous amount of money on car repairs without the problems being solved, or with vital things being┬ámissed that led to more problems, or the mechanics did a shoddy job and didn’t report the damage they’d done?

Having experienced all of those things myself, and several times too, I wondered how God would want me to react to them. Should I simply ignore the problems to keep the peace, or confront the management and mechanics with enough anger to get the point across that this was unacceptable and I’d be taking my business elsewhere?

Neither way appealed much, though, because if I ignored the problem I’d be seething for days, but if I got angry at the management and mechanics they’d be seething for days, and we’d never want to talk to each other again. And I don’t like having that kind of cloud hanging over me, and I’m sure they don’t either.

It then struck me, while walking home after another botch job had been done on my car, that all these problems with my car wouldn’t be problems if grace was added to the mix. I thought of the terrible botch job I’d made of my own life, but to God it wasn’t a problem, because he simply applied grace to it. And because of that grace a relationship with him grew.

So what did that grace include? Forgiveness, yes, but confrontation too, because I certainly got the point that my life needed to change. But never at any point did God give me the impression that my relationship with him was over, or that he was taking his business and his love elsewhere, to someone he liked much more. He got the point across that because of grace my problems weren’t insurmountable, nor were they cause for him to break his relationship with me.

To be a witness to Christ’s grace, therefore, I applied the same principles to the problems with my car. Never at any point in the proceedings would I give the impression that I thought the problems were insurmountable or cause for breaking our relationship. I would get the point across that things needed to change, yes, but it would be my desire to continue the relationship that would create the change, not anger or threats.

That’s not how you typically get things done in this world, of course, but we are witnesses to Christ and the power of his grace, where relationship comes first. And what a witness, because people do respond to it, which gives them a great head start when they get to hear about God’s grace as well.