Grace in the Gap

A few years ago, I heard Andy Stanley speak at a leadership conference about trust in relationships. He said there are two gifts we have the option to give each other every day – to trust and to be trustworthy. He said often, there are unexplained gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do. And when there is a gap between what we expect and what happens, we have to choose to put something in that gap. Our choice of what we put in that gap will determine the health of our relationships – some people call this, giving the benefit of the doubt.

Trust looks very much like grace, yet not entirely the same. Though they are different we must have grace and trust, and allow them to weave successfully through our lives and how we treat people. Biblically speaking, grace is the free and unmerited favor of God. And trust is having confidence in the honesty or integrity of a person. Both can be given and both can be received. Both are also able to be withheld, and that is where relationships can become damaged. As Andy Stanley goes on in his message to leaders, suspicion is usually what goes in the unexplained relationship gaps and no one wins when we do that.

It is likewise with grace. In order to genuinely trust someone, it takes putting on Christ and offering them grace at times. So much is lost for everyone involved when we refuse to operate this way. What makes this difficult to do is that trusting someone usually means having to filter through past experiences with them. That may be a conversation, actions, their involvement with others, our biases or stereotypes of people, or other relationships which look similar in our minds.

I could almost guarantee that if we’d walk putting trust and grace in the gaps of our relationships, 9 times out of 10, we’d be speaking more truth (trust and truth have the same root) than when we start throwing out our own biased accusation of people.

When someone is late to a meeting, trust and grace say, “I bet they were having a tough time getting ready this morning.” And then grace shoots a text to let them know, “if there is anything I can do to serve you this morning, let me know, otherwise, see you soon.”

When we interact with people in that fashion, we also set the standard for people and they will want to be trustworthy. When we sow trust and grace, we will reap trustworthiness and honor.

The Bible says that where sin abounded, grace THAT MUCH MORE!!! That tells me that if we know someone who isn’t trustworthy or has unsightly or dishonorable bends, we should extend grace all the more and put that much more trust in the gap! Real change doesn’t come from our dogmatic biases that reflect distrust and a lack of grace. The bible says that it is the GOODNESS of God that leads men to real change! So we should walk in that same by believing His Goodness about people.

Consider the areas where you need to put grace in the gap. Who is that person in your home or at work that you need to extend grace and put trust in the gap? Where do you need to examine your own heart and determine how you can change your thinking overall to quit being suspicious of everyone’s actions?

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