"Bzrp-cha-ta-bzrp. Zip-zip. Splzt. Bzrp-cha-ta."

"Okay, listen to it now."

Years ago, Heartlight began as a two-minute radio spot during drive time in Austin, Texas. This was way before the days of digital editing. Jim, my buddy and reel-to-reel tape editor, was a master with a razor blade. When he did his work, it sounded just like, "Bzrp-cha-ta-bzrp zip-zip splzt bzrp-cha-ta." And it took him less time to do it than it did you to sound it out!

Jim would find the bad place on the tape by listening for the "bzrp-cha-ta-bzrp" or some similar sound emanating from the speakers as he rolled the recording tape quickly over the pickup head. Then the razor blade would flash, making a "zip-zip" sound as Jim cut out the unwanted piece of material. Then Jim would tear off a piece of splicing tape, "splzt," and then readjust the good tape, "bzrp-cha-ta." Then we would listen to the edited portion. All mess ups, "Ughs," verbal goobers, misspoken words, unwanted pauses, and errors were edited out — the bad pieces of tape lying silently on the floor. The finished product was clean, clear, and as near perfect as possible.

Many times since then, I have wished I could still have Jim with me — not just for my recorded pieces, but also for my day-to-day life. While digital editing has made Jim's tape editing skills near obsolete, seems like I need him more than ever for my life — my harsh words, dumb decisions, bad moments, flares of anger, timing blunders, and insensitive comments.

We all suffer from foot-in-mouth disease at one time or another. We all awkwardly blunder in important moments with those we love. In addition are those moments when we stumble, sin, or are just downright mean. We need Jim's razor sharp editing skills and another chance to get things "right."

Unfortunately, there are no razor sharp editing tools for life. We can't unsay, undo, or un-sin away our worst moments. We depend upon the good grace and forgiveness of those we hurt, wound, and offend. While it is true that God can and will forgive and cleanse us of our past messes (1 John 1:5 - 2:2), the consequence and impact of our blunders, insensitivities, and rebellions leave scars in the hearts and pain in lives of others.

So what do we do? How do we recover and repair what we've thrown away and broken?

I'm not sure I can even begin to answer that, but I'm going to offer a few suggestions and ask you to help with some others. Here's my take on a few things I believe that I've got to work on in this regard.

What would you suggest to foster an environment of grace?
Forgive Graciously
I need to forgive those who have offended, wounded, and hurt me. I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and offer those who fall another chance at getting things right. Graciousness engenders graciousness. Jesus said that how we forgive will be how we are forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15;  Matthew 18:21-35).

Live Kindly
One of my biggest problems is that I take too many things personally, when most of those things are just the stuff of life. If I would keep my mouth shut more, my ears open longer and more often, then my anger would not be so close to the surface and my behavior more Christ-like (James 1:19-21;  Micah 6:8).

Give Generously
Selfishness clouds my eyes in every area of my life, and this is especially true in regard to forgiveness. Intentional kindness goes a long way in combating selfishness. A generous spirit — generosity with forgiveness, praise, encouragement, support, charity, and empathy — creates an environment for friendships to flourish and wounds to heal (1 Timothy 6:17-18;  Psalm 112:5).

Life doesn't come with a razor blade and a skilled editor like Jim. But, we can trust in God's gracious forgiveness and cleansing in our own lives. We can trust in God's eternal kindness. We can depend upon our Father's faithful generosity. So, let's make a commitment to offer that same grace, kindness, and generosity to others.

Now it's your turn. What would you suggest to foster an environment of grace, kindness, and generosity in your life and the life of your family? I'd love to hear from you on my blog: