Shocked, ashamed, and at fault, there I stood with a library fine that I incurred for overdue books for $585! I panicked. I, a poor graduate student, stared in disbelief. It was true — I had been gone all summer and the library books — “oh – yes,” they had been in my storage. Somehow I knew “oops” wasn’t going to solve this problem. (I had had previous negotiations with librarians and had the success of an acupuncturist selling to a porcupine.)
However when I got to the library, things tipped in my favor in a most surprising way.
Upon asking for grace from the student worker — she raised her eyebrows and shook her head in disapproval. With an expression on her face of a porcupine she said, “It’s very unlikely, but you can talk to the head librarian.” She pointed to an office in the corner. Prepared for the worst I went to the office and that is when the situation flipped. With trepidation I arrived at her doorway. Standing in the door I watched as the head librarian was playing with a Nintendo Game Boy! After meekly interrupting, the prim and proper librarian jolted in surprise at being found out. She started laughing hysterically at herself, coyly ashamed and fully amused. Straightening her business dress, and tossing the Game Boy aside she kept giggling, “That machine was in the lost and found. It said ‘Tarzan the Ape Man game,’ I was too curious. I can see how those children become addicted to those things.”
Under the circumstances, she cancelled the full $585 debt! Grace came so easy for her at that moment. Her embarrassment, almost made it as if she felt she owed me something and that I was the one forgiving her!
In your daily circumstances, in your workplace, or family there are always opportunities to give grace to others. When grace becomes your habit, you are really wearing your faith. Grace smells of Jesus — and that’s an attraction.
As one who is looking to share your pleasure in Christ with others, here are a few points to consider about multiplying grace in your workplace.
1. Minor mistakes can be laughed away. However, big mistakes almost always carry residual baggage of guilt. Is there anyway you can help people be free from that baggage?
2. If someone makes a mistake, find a point of empathy. For example share a time when you have made a similar mistake.
3. How often do you compliment people on their work? To NOT give an occasional compliment to people with whom you work daily, can be perceived that you are judging them negatively. No one likes to work under condemnation – real or perceived. Look for ways to praise the people around you and your influence in others area will grow.
4. Vocalize your empathy. People often don’t know you are wishing goodwill toward them until you voice your thoughts.
Remember – grace changes everything.