EGR – Extra Grace Required

Unconditional love – the God-kind of love (agapé) is the greatest gift we can give another person. It allows someone to feel secure, be vulnerable, sense their worth, and discover who they really are. Most of us first experience this love when we are born again and the love of God is poured out into our very being.

Romans 5:5 ESV “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Once we have experienced and received unconditional love then we are able to walk in it and give it away.

Former United States president George W. Bush was heard saying to his daughter, “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do to keep me from loving you, so stop trying.” So true, Unconditional love can be tested, but it always passes the test. 

I think that all people long to have a consistent friend who loves them, believes in them, and is continually there for them no matter the circumstances. If you are willing to be that kind of person for others, not only will it expand your relational skills, it will also give you a more satisfying life. You will find yourself relating to others on a very personal level and knowing that you are having an impact in the lives of others. And, you will be aware that you are loved – listen to those words, “YOU ARE LOVED,” and that is so important in life and in relationships.

You may be thinking, I can’t do this with everyone, because some people are just difficult.” That’s very true – for all of us. In my circle of church leaders we call these people EGR’s – extra grace required. But remember we can all use extra grace from time to time. Maybe those who face the greatest challenges are the ones who have difficult people in their families. I raised 6 children on a pastor’s salary. We had a favourite saying, “We don’t go to the circus, we are one.” And every day a different child would be the ‘clown.’ I quickly discovered that family life is ground zero in learning how to deal with difficult people. There were many days when EGR was really needed.

So, we are called as believers to love one another. It is as simple and as difficult as that. It is both difficult and simple. In the end, our goal should be to treat others better than they treat us, to add value to them in a greater capacity than maybe they expect.

Nelson Mandela, the South African statesman, was a fantastic example of someone with high relational capabilities. It was said of him, “He was greater than his enemies deserved; greater than the leaders of foot-dragging Western countries who later rushed to eulogize him; greater than his family, squabbling over his legacy. ‘Deep down in every human heart,’ he wrote , ‘there is mercy and generosity.’” He was a living example of that truth.

Maybe we have not arrived at such a place – but it is certainly a goal worth striving for!