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What is a Man of Grace? What is Grace? Wouldn’t it be easy for me to give a few cliché scriptures and a rah-rah message about being victorious through grace? Who am I to be writing this article about Grace?
Inside of me I have two men: the former man and the after man. I was an evangelical atheist, a physically strong man, an intellectually gifted man, an impatient man, an arrogant man, a demeaning man – a bully of a man. But when I was 22, I had a very powerful experience with God – a paradigm shifting, spiritually awakening, humility inducing, tear generating and thought provoking experience. My whole perception of self, character, reality and behaviors were radically altered that day.
Fast forward to when I was 24 and my wife and I had our first daughter. My wife and I have been together since high school and she has seen me as the before man and grown with me as the after man. Regardless of how close we were, nothing could prepare me for the moment when the doctors informed us that our first child was born with Down Syndrome. Immediately, the before man crept into my mind… “How could I, me of all people, be born with such a mistake of a daughter? Doesn’t God know who I am? My seed should be superior.”
Those thoughts soon faded and we soon fell deeply in love with our girl. She now is almost 5 and truly a joy to us and everyone she comes in contact with. So why have I shared this with you in a supposedly encouraging article about being a Man of Grace?
God has taught me many lessons on grace and the exhibition thereof through my daughter. Jesus never condemned the weak. He never shuffled aside the outcast. He never verbally abused those with less understanding. He didn’t respond aggressively (even if we would consider it just worthy) when he was ridiculed or mocked by those who didn’t know any better. God continually brings up the life of Jesus, when he was here as a man among his brethren here on this world, when guiding me on how to raise my daughter.
Since my daughter has Down Syndrome, she constantly draws attention – some harmless and some demeaning. She looks, talks, walks and acts just a little different than a ‘normal’ child. People look, stare, make comments or make faces and we have even been asked in the nicest way possible, “How could we bring such a child into the world?” The before man would have given them a piece of my mind; or maybe a piece of a few knuckles as well. The after man, the Man of Grace that I am growing into, strives to respond and behave as Jesus did. Sometimes I have to turn the other cheek, sometimes I respond with a blessing, sometimes I have to remind myself that they know not what they do, sometimes I have to remind myself that they are behaving exactly as the world has taught them and sometimes I find a reasonable person that I can reach out to and lead into meaningful conversation.
So am I a Man of Grace? You tell me. I know I am much more graceful than I used to be but I’m always learning, always being molded into the image of Jesus, always struggling with the former man and always thankful that others treat me with grace when I do.
Share your story about Grace!