Amazing Grace

The high school I worked at in Colorado was about 20 students and was self-contained within a middle school. Near the end of the year they held a building wide talent show. During the show, you had your normal run of middle school student talents: singing, dancing, skits that are only fun to that kid’s friends, etc. But one act really stood out to me. A teacher and two students played guitars and did a TERRIBLE rendition of Amazing Grace. The singers were off key, the guitars were slightly out of tune, and one of the kids forgot the words about halfway through. I loved it.

The reason I loved it is because these kids sang their guts out. I never interacted with these students so I have no idea what they believed. The fact that they were students at this school told me that they probably know what it’s like to consider yourself a wretch. Though this was a secular public school they chose to sing about one of the cornerstones of our faith Grace.

At this school, it became a daily exercise of showing grace. Our school was the last step between the regular public schools and residential treatment. Every day was a series of choosing your battles. A kid curses let it go ask her about her math. A kid punches you in the arm to say good morning redirect him to the more appropriate handshake. Obviously, this was on a case-by-case basis, and consequences were faced, but our focus was to meet these kids where they were, no matter how far behind that was and help them graduate high school.

I had an old admin describe some people as EGRs (Extra Grace Required). These are the students that frustrate you by not doing things efficiently. This is the kid that really wants to help get dinner made but mostly gets in the way. This is the barista that is having a terrible day and screws up your coffee. When we encounter these people we make a choice: am I going to make this interaction about me and my frustration or am I going to show grace by helping them?

If you have come to faith in Jesus all your sin, all your annoying habits, all your attempts to work out your own salvation have been forgiven. God’s grace has covered them all. Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We have been forgiven so much, should we not share that forgiveness with others also? Who can you be more gracious towards? Who can you thank for showing grace to you?