7 thoughts that help me extend grace

As the years go by, I grow less and less tolerant toward the intolerant. Which, of course, slowly turns me into one of them.

To try and fight that process, I have to continually remind myself of some things. I’ll share a few. Hopefully that might help someone else deal with the same problem. And it will hold me publicly accountable.

I need to remember…

  1. that I’m wrong. About something. Or some things. I’m not perfect in my understanding. So I can’t expect others to be perfect.
  2. that I’ve changed my views over the years. Unless we’ve reached perfect understanding, we’re going to change. That should help me understand both those who haven’t made the same changes and those who have changed in ways that I haven’t.
  3. that I’ve exchanged some wrong views for right ones. If I haven’t changed over the years, then I haven’t grown.
  4. that I’ve exchanged some right views for wrong ones. Never intentionally, but I’m sure it’s happened.
  5. that nobody chooses to be wrong. People hold a position because they believe it to be true. Getting angry and accusing people of dishonesty isn’t helpful.
  6. that every fellow believer deserves the benefit of the doubt. I need to assume good motives and good intentions. I need to suppose that they are trying to please God.
  7. that only God will determine in the end who is His and who is not. My pronouncements toward others mean nothing. I can declare someone to be a Christian or not be a Christian, but in the end, that declaration will be meaningless. God gets the final say.

More could be added, but that should get some ideas rolling in my head and yours. Please offer further suggestions or necessary corrections.

3 thoughts on “7 thoughts that help me extend grace

  1. Paul Smith

    Once again, Tim, beautifully stated. In regard to #5, while none of us intentionally choose *to be* wrong, we do clearly sometimes choose error. Color me as a skeptic, but I also believe that sometimes we choose that error on the basis that we will be more popular, or have more power, or have fewer objections. This is clearly the message behind the threat that if we do not change our minds on some issue or the other, we will end up “on the wrong side of history.”

    I agree with your basic premise: it is dangerous to impugn the motives of others. But, to say that everyone holds every single one of their convictions in absolute purity is also a false statement. Some of our convictions are derived from a pure motivation to be correct – and sometimes a big paycheck and a chance to present the keynote lectures all across the nation are just as compelling, as are keeping peace with one’s relatives or trying to earn a seat at the elder’s table.

    Might it not be safer to say that we should not assume either integrity or dishonesty in holding opinions, but rather that, “Brother Smith holds this opinion” and leave it at that?

    Maybe I’m arguing about a shade of gray here. I believe completely that when differences exist, the focus should be on the issue at question, and NEVER about the personality of those who hold this, that, or the other opinion about the issue. Which is, I think, what you are trying to communicate.

  2. Pingback: When tolerance isn’t the answer | The Kitchen of Half-Baked Thoughts

  3. Pingback: 7 Thoughts That Help Me Extend Grace – Simply Gospel

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