My Finguh Hurts … Bring Grace

He was a cute little guy with curly red hair wearing a flannel shirt and little-boy jeans. He lay face down on the bottom platform of the Target cart, dragging his chubby hands along on the floor, singing a song he was making up in the moment as his mom moved through the produce section.

All was well with his world. Until …

One of those cute little fingers got pinched under the wheel of the cart.
Then all was not well with his world.

He rolled off the bottom of the cart, jumped onto his feet, lifted his finger into the air while cradling his hand, crying at anyone who would listen …

My finguh! My finguh! I hurt my finguh!

Big tears ran down his chubby cheeks and the sobs came from his little tummy.
He looked so scared – not sure what he was supposed to do about it. Certainly wanting someone to see that it wasn’t a good moment for him.

My first instinct was to run over and get down on my knees and kiss his boo-boo, look him in the eye and tell him it would get better. But his mother was right there and that would just seem awkward and odd.

But I kind of wish I would have done that.
Because his mother just stood behind him, kept her hands on the cart, checking out the celery.
I told you not to drag your hands on the floor. That’s what happens when you don’t obey me.

And the little guy just kept crying and shaking and holding his finger in the air …
My finguh! My finguh! I hurt my finguh! 

I’m telling you, friend, I started to cry right there in front of the carrots.
That little scene was just so … wrong.

I know. Children are supposed to obey. There are consequences when they don’t. But, really? The child’s finguh was hurt and he was startled, and he just needed someone to show some compassion. Some grace. Any lesson could come later, couldn’t it?

I think my tears were for this little guy in his misery, and for the realization that there have been too many times I’ve kept my hands on the Target cart, ready to shame or shun because someone had clearly not done the right thing and had annoyed me.

Know what I mean?

Oh, Lord, have mercy. For real. Please have mercy.

I can be so quick to show my displeasure with someone’s actions or make sure someone knows they are inconveniencing me…

The clerk behind the counter who is moving soooo slowly with her scanning.
The customer service rep who finally picks up my call after I’ve been on hold for about 13 hours.
The barista who forgets to add the vanilla to the hot latte.

My mom, who isn’t aware that it’s 2:34 A.M. and I’m too tired to talk about our plans for the next day.

My grace-less reactions show up with sharp words. A glare. A heavy sigh and shrug of the shoulders.

Oh, may I remember how Grace can change the moment.
How Grace can change someone’s day.
How Grace can hold their tears back, stop their tears, or dry their tears.

The Bible is filled with verses about Grace. They aren’t there for fluff. I need to remember that.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace…” (Colossians 4:6)
The Message translation says it this way: “The goal is to bring out the best in others in the conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”

Oh, yes.
So much to learn, isn’t there? So much to remember. So much to apply.

Here’s how I want to live …
When someone messes up and their finguh hurts, I’m going to drop the carrots, run over, look them in the eye, and make their boo-boo better. I’m going to tell them it’s OK. I’m going to replace their tears and frustration with a smile and encouraging word.
I’m going to show up with Grace.

Join me?
You and me and Grace.
We can change the world.

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