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Grace on!

"If someone you know makes a bad decision or uses bad judgment, it doesn't mean you have to allow that to alter your attitude. Why should you allow anyone else's bad decisions to send you into a tailspin of misery?" (Joyce Meyers)   I wonder just how many times in life we let another's actions and attitude determine our own? I know it is hard to think pure thoughts when all around you are all manner of unwholesome influences. I know it is difficult to find good when all seems to be a little too "tainted" to actually be easily overlooked. Yet, when we allow the bad influences of those around us to affect who or what we are, we allow them to be in the driver's seat of our lives - and they are definitely going to steer us in the wrong direction if they get that degree of control!

The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.  (Proverbs 12:2-3 NLT)

Most of us don't want to be "easily influenced" by those who are doing foolish things around us, or when they are specifically targeting us by their actions. We don't want to give into their foolish taunts or accusations when they see things differently than we see them. Truth be told, most of us are easily influenced by the words people say, the thoughts they manage to put in our heads because of their gossip, and the maliciousness of their actions than we might want to believe. We don't exactly know how to respond to them when they act this way against us, but God wants us to get to the place where we don't need to respond and where their actions don't become the dominant influence in our lives.

If you have ever seen someone respond in graceful patience toward another who is acting in some foolish and hurtful manner, you might have kind of wondered how on earth they could be silent or seemingly not respond to these actions in some confrontational manner. It is just possible that the world has seen so many examples of responses to foolish actions that are NOT grace-filled that we have come to expect these types of responses as the "standard" by which someone should respond when affronted? I think we have more than enough "negative examples" of individuals who don't respond in grace to those who are being foolish in their actions against others. What we need is a few more positive examples of God's grace - even when people may not understand the response, they are being given a chance to see just a little of Jesus whether they realize it or not!

Others may not understand the depth of your roots - how deeply they are grounded in the grace of God and how deeply you have been affected by that grace in your own life. Those who respond in grace even when grace doesn't seem to be the "norm" for whatever has been done, said, or tolerated aren't understood, but they set God up to reveal bits and pieces of himself to those who most need to see him in this world!  Just sayin!

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