A manager who I’ve been working closely with recently shared how proud he is of his children. They are doing great in high school and are already preparing for college. He regretfully also shared how his story was very different. He didn’t take school seriously, and in his first semester of college, he failed all his midterms due to spending his first weeks of freedom partying.
In shock, he went to his professors and before asking what can be done, he truthfully explained what had happened. They were surprised at his honesty and all but one decided to grant him some grace and give him a second chance, making his final exam grade count for 100% of the course. He hunkered down, buried his head in the books, and that semester made the Dean’s List.
Right after he was done with his story, I wondered out loud, where would he be if he would not have been given that second chance? He most probably would have failed the semester. Maybe he would have quit college, or started again the next semester, with a different attitude, but with the bad GPA forever haunting his transcript. That on its own would have had other repercussions.
Many of us would have thought that it is what needed to happen, because it is what he deserved. That is completely right, yet he got a reality check and learned his lesson without having to go through all the consequences. He decided to ask for help and change his attitude. He put in the time and effort to show that he wanted and appreciated this second chance, and did not disappoint.
Because of grace, which is unmerited favor, is why we celebrate today, Easter Sunday. Jesus extended his hand and died on the cross for our sins. With His resurrection, He provides an overabundance of grace which we can reach for in a daily fashion. We rejoice in recognizing that Jesus is the trusty bridge between God and us, imperfect people.
The act of grace his professors showed him changed the course of his life. I think that regardless of being a Christian believer or not, we should act in the same graceful manner as the professors and as Jesus. Giving someone an opportunity to make amends is a way of lifting them up within our possibilities. We recognize that no one is perfect, and use our power to encourage and help someone grow and get out of their slump. They might rightfully deserve all the consequences and even more, but a hand from us can help them find and/or come back to the right path.
I know for a fact that this doesn’t always work. Some just take advantage of the people helping them instead of the opportunity granted. Those things will always happen, but we can’t let those bad apples ruin it for the rest. Others will come and show us why lending a hand is so worth it.
On this happy day I encourage you to meditate on and read the situation before jumping to any accustomed train of thought. If you can lend that hand, you might be able to help someone who has recognized their mistakes and just needs a push to get to the next level. If you can’t do it for that person, do it for the light that shines through you.