My Story of Grace // Justin Hagan / by Jamie Hagan

Two years ago Jamie and I moved to Rhode Island to make it our home. We love it here, but still try to do our best to keep in touch with our old friends that now live an 18 hour car ride away. And one of the biggest ways that my friends from both high school and college have kept in touch is by playing computer games together. We would get on to play a few games together while talking about life over Skype. The problem is that I let it become about the game more than the friends. Essentially, I played too often and too competitively.

There was one evening where had played a round and afterwards I had something to do, so I said goodbye and logged off the game, but I absentmindedly forgot to hang up the Skype call. Later that evening I came back to my computer hearing a group of my friends, one in particular, complaining pretty harshly about me; specifically for my habit of playing games an unhealthy amount.

That’s when I had a choice to make. Either extend grace and ask for grace in return, or let my anger get the best of me and wall up. At first I was really upset and bothered by what he said; getting defensive would have been easy, and I wanted to, but after thinking through what to say and how to respond to the situation throughout the night I came to a few conclusions:

One. Even though it’s hard for me to give grace in this situation, this relationship is too important to me to respond without grace.

Two. Sure, I didn’t appreciate the way that a really close friend talked about me behind my back. He’s been my friend since grade school, usually we know how to talk to each other about the others' issues in a way that helps and builds each other up, as opposed to tearing them down. And even though I wish he would’ve talked to me about it, the truth was he wasn’t wrong. I had been playing too much. I needed to ask for grace.

Since then I've been able to grow as a person, find new ways to keep connected to my friends, no longer play games, and spent my time more productively. The great thing is, that even though grace was hard to extend on both ends, it is what healed the relationship and ultimately made it stronger.