Imagine you are introduced to a family, Dad and Mom and their three children, all girls. The older two are twin sisters named Judgement and Mercy, the other child is named Grace.
It doesn’t take long getting to know Judgement and Mercy. Judgement is not mean, but she is consistent, rigid and direct. At times she becomes quite loud. She makes a great companion when you are going to talk to a friend or family member who seems to need some straightening out and Judgement is especially good company when it comes to co-workers. But, truth be told, we all would rather go the long, long way around than take a chance of crossing paths with Judgement when her sister is not with her. Fortunately, Mercy finds her identity with Judgement so they are rarely apart. It seems like Mercy would be a really great friend but her loyalty is to Judgement and when Judgement isn’t around Mercy seems to lose all motivation. So they carry on together in their task-oriented existence, dropping in and out of circumstances and relationships. It seems they are in constant demand yet remain somewhat separate from true relationship, except with one another.
And then there is Grace. There are stories about Grace. To see her you would think sunshine and tea parties but there is fire in her eyes and if the stories are true……
Grace is not controlled, yet she is not out of control. No one who has ever met Grace would forget her. And yet sometimes the only exchange is a smile – but the smile seems so refreshingly contrary to the circumstances of the moment. Grace will laugh and Grace will cry but it’s always attuned to another.
Judgement and Mercy can get quite agitated with Grace, yet she is never intimidated by them.
Grace is always found in the presence of someone else and Judgement always has something to say about that.
Judgement says, “They created this mess, why did you ask to be involved?”
“I didn’t ask.” Grace replies. “I choose.”
“Why did they ask you to carry that load?” Judgement will bellow at Grace, “They bought it themselves, it is theirs to carry.”
“They didn’t ask.” Grace replied. Mercy is silent.
Grace is never dismissive of realities, however ugly or painful they may be, nor is she captured or defined by them the same way as are Judgement and Mercy. Grace is never obligated by some sense of duty. You can be friends with Grace but never earn her friendship. Are you a friend of Grace?
The story says that in the darkest moment of human history Judgement stood stiff and resolute unable to turn away. Mercy wept and turned her face away. And where was Grace?
Grace was with you.