Extra Grace Required (EGR) people

You know them.  People with antagonistic comments, prickly attitudes, spoiling for a fight.  Curmudgeons.   Or, simply the thoughtless and self-consumed.  Some of your friends perhaps, work partners, relatives.  Perhaps even you and I (for periods of time at least), lovable folk that we usually are!  EGR or Extra Grace Required folk, as my Baptist friends would say.  Love that expression!  If we removed all of the “difficult” EGR people from our lives, we’d certainly reduce some significant emotional pain, as well as the number of people in our lives.  But life would be a lot duller, and lonelier, and our opportunities for Christian witness and growth (theirs and ours) would be severely reduced.  Books have been written and psychologists’ couches filled as a result of EGR folk and our seeming inability to deal with them.  Road rage, alcoholism (both a cause and effect), marital discord, hurtful words, unfeeling actions (or inaction).  Life is filled with EGR people.  Perhaps you and I are one.  The Bible has some very practical advice on the subject.  First and foremost, “a soft answer turns away anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1)  Secondly, “Speak the truth in love” (with greatest emphasis on the love part).  (Ephesians 4:15).  And finally, do not harbor feelings of revenge or “keeping count” of the wrongs perpetrated against you.  (God doesn’t.  Why should you?).   (Romans 12:17-21, Colossians 3:13).    Some of my best friends would not even be in my life today had I nursed perceived wrongs against me over the years.  (Please don’t ask – it’s water under the bridge).  There may be times when it is necessary to “dust off your sandals” for a time at least and give an EGR person some space.  But I personally find it helpful to pray and ask myself, what would Jesus have me do in this EGR situation?  I may not like the answer, but I’m never disappointed with the results, if I am obedient to God’s word and disciplined.  Either I grow or they grow, or we both grow.  It’s good.

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