Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

“Extra Grace Required”

Some years ago our church did a study of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life. On “Day Nineteen,” Warren’s words grabbed my attention:

“In every church and in every small group, there is at least one ‘difficult’ person, usually more than one. These people may have special emotional needs, deep insecurities, irritating mannerisms, or poor social skills. You might call them ‘EGR’ people—“Extra Grace Required.”

{Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, pg. 149}

“Extra Grace Required” people. You know them, don’t you? There are some in every church, every office, every school, every meeting, and every family.

These are the folks who get on your last nerve. They drain your energy. They engulf you in their constant drama. They are always stirring something up. There is nowhere to go to get away from them. Quit your job and go to a new company? You will find “EGR” people waiting for you there. Leave your church and go to another one? You will find just as many “EGR” people there as you had in your last church…maybe more! Leave your “EGR” spouse for greener pastures? It won’t be long before you find your new spouse is also an “EGR.”

What if God intends that we treat “Extra Grace Required” people with the grace that they require?

Rick Warren goes on to say about “EGR” people:

“God put these people in our midst for both their benefit and ours. They are an opportunity for growth and a test of fellowship: Will we love them as brothers and sisters and treat them with dignity?”

{Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 149}

Is not the nature of grace that it is a gift to those who do not deserve it, and who have not earned it?

Jesus said:

32 “If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. 35 Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. 36 Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.

{Luke 6:32-36, Common English Bible}

Grace is especially for people who are “Extra Grace Required” people! Jesus tells us that grace in action is to a) love the unlovable, to b) do good to those who do bad, and to c) give to those you know don’t deserve your generosity, and will never pay you back.

Jesus reminds us that when we extend grace to “Extra Grace Required” people we are embodying what it means to be children of the “Most High” God. Jesus declares that the “Most High” is “kind to ungrateful and wicked people.”

I am called to extend grace to “EGR” people because I too have been “ungrateful and wicked”—I need only to look in the mirror and see an “Extra Grace Required” person. If you look in the mirror, you just might see an “EGR” person too!

Richard Blackaby in his book, Putting A Face On Grace, offers some practical ways to show grace to “Extra Grace Required” people:

•    Speak words intended to build up, not to bring down.

•    Focus on their need rather than your own.

•    Freely forgive.

•    Swallow you pride and say, “I’m sorry”, and “I was wrong.”

•    Live your life with a goal of “no regrets”.

•    Don’t keep score of what is fair.

•    Grace doesn’t condemn or give up on people.

•    Grace emphasizes mercy, not justice.

•    Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 regularly.

Since I (grudgingly) admit that I am an “Extra Grace Required” person, my goal this day is to show grace to my fellow “EGR’s” that I encounter.

Will you join me?


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