3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
Dear God, if there is room in your plan for Jacob to be this bad of a father then there must be hope for the rest of us. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s the perfect parent. I’m not the perfect parent. I wasn’t when they were younger, and I’m not now that they are grown. Sometimes this weighs on me. It’s not that I didn’t do my best. I really did. I tried to do it well, but, at the end of the day, there was no way I was ever going to do it perfectly. I remember holding my oldest child for the first time and literally thinking, “Well, at least so far I haven’t screwed anything up.” I hadn’t had a chance to yet. But I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes since then.
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is the importance of giving grace to people who don’t live up to your expectations. Even now, there is a group of people in our community with whom I am at odds. Their actions really frustrate me, and I’m sure my actions have frustrated or offended them. I think the key for all of us is to recognize the motivations on each side and that they are not sinister. I might disagree with their conclusions. I might disagree with their tactics. But I also recognize that they don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “How can I be mean or do something bad today?” No, they are probably waking up with a passion and wondering how to bring it to life. I hope they recognize the same of me.
I link these two things together (the parenting angle and the community activism angle) because they both just require grace. They require people to look beyond what is perceived on the surface and realize that there is a loved child of God on the other side who is likely just doing their best to make the right decisions as they perceive them. That is true for parents and children as well as community members trying to solve problems.
Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, please give me grace. Give me grace for those who are frustrating me. Whether they be family, coworkers, friends, or just people I know either locally or through the media only. Even politicians. There is only so much influence my little life can have. Don’t let me waste it on something that doesn’t bring you glory and your kingdom coming to earth and your will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
It’s through the redemption of Jesus I pray to my Triune God,