extending hands of grace

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Sunrise on my morning walk

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

As I do most mornings, I leashed my dog up and headed out for a walk.  It was sunny and mild- the perfect spring morning.  As I was walking, I took notice of a police car heading in my direction, which I perceived to be going faster than the speed limit.

I immediately defaulted to judging- thinking negative thoughts about him, based on nothing more than the thought that he *may* have been going slightly faster than usual, with no other cars in sight.

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I continued walking and began to cross the street.  I glanced behind me and noticed the cop car had turned around and was driving towards me on my side of the street.  I crossed the street and kept walking.  The cop pulled up beside me and motioned for me to come to his car.

Great!  Immediately my mind wandered to the millions of things he could be stopping me for- and not one of those thoughts was a positive one.

God ever so gently showed me the err of my ways as I saw the cop extend his hand of grace to me-

“Here you go!”  The cop smiled and handed me a larger than normal dog biscuit.  “I just wanted you to have this.  Hope you have a great day!”

And in that instant I realized how guilty I was- of judging him, of thinking he was not there to help me- but to reprimand me for something.  Honestly- I didn’t even know if he had been going above the speed limit, but in my split-second judgement of him, I had already sized him up- stereotyped him as someone who thought he was “above the law”,  looking to pull someone over.

But God wants us to see others through His eyes of Love and Grace. Apart from Him, I fail miserably at doing this.  Instead of thinking the worst about someone, we need to put our hope in Him always and expect Him to show us the good in others.

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

And as far as I have come on this walk with Him- in His wonderful, loving way- He shows me just how much further I have to go.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  Psalm 119:18

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My walking buddy and his “treat” from the cop