No one extends grace

I grew up hearing repeatedly to not expect non-Christians to act like Christians. It seemed to make sense then. If you don’t know Jesus, how could you expect to live by the example and rules set forth in scripture?

But this no longer seems to make sense. I know too many Christians who are, quite frankly, horrible people. They lie, cheat, lord power over others, have affairs…you get the idea. I also know many non-Christians who are kind, loyal and seek daily to help others. Lest you think I am completely jaded, I also know MANY, MANY Christians who intentionally live below their means so they may help others at any time, who are kind, thoughtful, and working for a better world and too many good things to write.

Here’s what is prompting this pondering. I spent 45 min on the phone this morning with 4 different agents from a credit card company. My mother has been in the hospital for several months now and I have been tending the bills. One card I paid off returned with a new charge. Knowing she hasn’t even been walking, I assumed she had not snuck out and been to this store. When I called, they said it was a late fee. The last payment arrived 12 hours late. I asked for a reversal as I had called to let them know it was on the way and the only charge was an exorbitant late fee. The woman on the other end became argumentative with me saying a policy is a policy and it did not matter the circumstances that “no credit card companies extend grace, no one extends grace”. I let her know this was simply not true. I asked to speak to a supervisor and she said she was done with the call and hung up on me. The next time I tried calling, we were disconnected. The third time, I received a person I could not understand and he could not understand me. The fourth time, a woman who took one look at the history of payments and said there was no reason not to reverse charges. (And that courtesy without me having to unveil the drama of our last few months and dealing with mom’s health.)

I am most intrigued by the woman who said “no one extends grace”. Is this really how she lives and what she believes? What a seemingly dismal way to go through life. Yet, I have certainly had days where that feels to be true.

Today, I am going to make a concerted effort to extend grace. Even when what I really want to do is yell at the anonymous person at the other end of the phone.

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About Amy Jacober

Amy Jacober (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a youth ministry veteran with ministry and teaching experience. She focuses on practical theology, urban ministry, theology & disability, and marginalized communities. She is a volunteer youth worker in her church and community, lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects and serves on the Young Life Capernaum national board. In her free time she can be found playing with her three young children, husband, and oversized dog.