One of my dear friends and I were walking last week and as we navigated through sun-soaked leaves and nature trails, she shared a recent difficult moment in which she, ahem, caught someone talking not-so-nicely about her.
In front of a lot of people. Oops.
The person tried to back pedal. She tried to skirt the issue and point fingers.
But the fact remains, she got busted. Big time.
I won’t try to act like I’ve never been in this situation. Back in the day, I thought nothing of trashing another person.
I’m fully-aware of the log in my eye.
I’ve learned a thing or two since then. Like sometimes you just have to step-out and have behavior grace with someone else.
Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it.
In my book Heart Sisters (being released by Abingdon Press next year), I discuss the difference between behavior grace and forgiveness grace.
Forgiveness grace is when we have grace with other people and forgive them of their offenses and slights. It’s the 7 x 70 kind of grace.
Behavior grace is when we exhibit, what my mother calls, “The Betty Davis Actress Award.” We are kind and congenial with those who have slighted us though the reality might be, we want to give ’em a good ole smackeroo. (I’m sure you have it way more together than I do and would never think such a thing.)
We don’t have to be best friends with those who persecute us. But we are asked to do all we can to live in peace with others.
Which means even if you aren’t guilty of one single thing, it’s still best to be kind and courteous.
“But isn’t this being fake?” I’ve been asked.
Absolutely not. This makes you wise, friend.
Being fake is when you pretend to be someone’s BFF then turn around and throw them under the bus as soon as they’re gone.
When you show behavior grace, you are choosing to do what Jesus has asked you to do: forgive. Move on. Don’t hold grudges. Be kind.
And if you need to establish a boundary? So be it.
(Hover over image if you want to add to your pinboards! What a fun plug-in this is!)
Maybe she was having an off day. Maybe she’s in a loveless marriage and her pain is so great she lashes out at others. Maybe she’s incredibly lonely.
Regardless, we all have less-than-flattering moments.
But it’s what we do after those moments that count the most.
And if we are the one who’s been persecuted?
It’s best to get your Betty Davis on, girl. The flame explodes when we add gasoline.
So if you are accused of being fake, remember, you’re very likely not: you’re showing behavior grace.
And that’s one kind of acting that’s authentic, sister.
First, congratulations on your book! So exciting. I look forward to purchasing it next year. I’m working on my first book now. Please pray for me! This is a great post. Grace is so important. God taught me a lot about what it is like to extend grace in the same way He extends grace to us. And it’s so healing. When people see that you are able to love them even when they’re unlovable it helps break down serious walls.
I hope you have an amazing week and 4th of July with your family!
Shakirah, that’s so exciting! I would love to hear more. I’ll be praying – it’s so much about the process.
Yes, agree. Grace is SUPER healing.
Thank you – have a wonderful holiday as well, sweet friend!
My favorite example of this (since we are speaking of Old Hollywood) is from Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’Hara is not the kind of person anyone would want for a friend. She’s conniving, she’s envious, she’s self-serving, she has to be the center of attention – a spoiled-rotten brat who wants covets another woman’s husband. But dear, sweet Melanie, knowing all that she does about Scarlett, won’t speak a single ill word against her. Even when people come to her with evidence of Scarlett’s betrayals, she explains them away. Its not that she holds anger in her heart toward Scarlett and refuses to give in – she refuses to hold the anger in the first place. We admire Scarlett for her plucky-ness and determination – and indeed, her chutzpah saved more than one life but I have always wanted to have a heart like Melanie’s (being a histrionic Scarlett myself).
I like 1 Cor 13:7… “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Especially the part “believes all things” – it believes the best about a person, choosing to overlook wrongs, explain them away.
Thank you, Natalie for sharing this TODAY – I need to meditate on this verse as I head for a week-long vacation with my husband’s whole family (2nd of three vacations I will take with these peeps this year… PRAY FOR THIS SCARLETT!!) :-)
Amber, I love this analogy! Yes, we all need to aspire to be the Melanie’s of the world – even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
I personally think it takes more self-control and grows us more if we follow the lead of grace. It’s the more difficult path but the one that produces the most fruit.
Thanks for adding your comments – I’ll pray for your vacation time…Should “Be more like Melanie” be your breath prayer??!!!
This is so true and SO HARD TO DO!!! Great post! :)
Great post, Aunt Natalie. I can’t wait for your book!