Back-to-School Grace


It’s that time of year again. It seemed like just yesterday we were celebrating the last day of school. Now, here I am shopping for back-to-school supplies. Sigh. Back-to-school shopping makes me so sad because it signals the end of summer, which is my favorite time of year. I love the warm weather and the carefree schedule. The only thing that makes this process somewhat bearable for me is finding great deals on back-to-school supplies and clothing.

In fact, just this week I was able to find an extraordinary deal on a graphing calculator for my son. But, when I got home and looked over my receipt, I realized that the store made an error and charged me too much. Ugh! Now I had to go back in for a price adjustment. Because that’s what I wanted to do with what was left with my summer, head back to the same store filled with desperate parents looking for deals on sticky notes.

I “mommied” up and headed back in. I wasn’t going to miss out on this deal. But to my utter surprise, the store manager was anything but nice to me. He was sarcastic, irritable, and downright rude. In complete shock, I left the store, and then immediately re-entered. There was no reason for him to treat me that way. And I was going to let him know that. I calmly, yes calmly, explained how his behavior was completely unacceptable.

Waiting for my apology, I instead received more rudeness. In fact, there was no apology at all, just him justifying his poor behavior. Since “I’m sorry” wasn’t coming out of his lips anytime soon, I decided to tell him that he lost my business for good, and that I would be shopping elsewhere in the future. I showed him!

Before I left, I asked him for his name. The unsettled look on his face revealed he knew why I was asking. And he was right. I was going to report him to corporate.

Walking away feeling quite proud of myself, I heard a quiet voice whisper in my ear: “show him grace.” Really!?! I must have heard wrong. Not one ounce of me wanted to do that. He didn’t deserve grace. He was being a jerk. Then, I felt a big nudge and was reminded that none of us deserve grace. And still, Jesus sacrificed Himself for all of us.

At that moment, I was faced with a decision. I could have ignored the nudge, reported the manager, got him in trouble, and felt good about being vindicated. Or, I could extend grace to a person who was obviously having a bad day and just needed someone to be kind to him.

Opportunities like this sometimes present themselves in life. What are we going to do with them? Well, I chose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and returned to him, this time with a different approach. I told him that I wanted to start all over again. I showed compassion and understanding. I recognized that he was having a tough day and told him I would pray for him instead of reporting him.

What did I get in return? A heartfelt thank you and an apology. And most importantly, I felt content in knowing that I was obedient to Christ.

Ladies, we are all recipients of God's grace, so give it freely and often.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Education, Back to School, Shopping.

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