Pizza Man Grace

The pizza guy held a delivery bag too small for the requested four larges. I opened the door and smiled, “Four large pizzas, right?”

The look on his face told me the many teens in my back yard were about to be really disappointed. He said, “Ummm, well, actually there’s only two. Let me check your ticket…oh, yeah you’re supposed to have four. Give me 20 minutes and I’ll be back with the other two.”

I took the two he had and said, “Oh no problem. The kids can start on these and then have round two when you get back.”

As I walked into the kitchen Art gave me a funny look, “I thought you ordered four pizzas.”

“Yeah, the delivery guy forgot two of them but will be back in a few minutes. No big deal,” I quipped with a shoulder shrug.

Art tilted his head, “You didn’t even ask for a discount or coupons or anything?”

“Oh honey, I felt bad for the guy. It’s not a big deal to ask the kids to wait for a few minutes,” I replied with a smile.

Thinking of the way I’d reacted during a little “growth opportunity” we’d had earlier, Art said, “Wow. I’d like to have that kind of grace.”

Ouch. The point was well made. I’d gotten so aggravated with something Art had done and let him know. Why is it I’m so quick to give a gentle answer to a stranger but spew on those I love the most?

I think it’s because of accumulated impact.

This was the only time I’d ever seen the pizza guy. My emotions toward him were completely neutral. When he made a mistake, I was able to just let it go.

But I have a history with Art. We do lots of life together. If I let little aggravations collect, my emotions ratchet up creating more and more tension. Then when something happens, I find it much harder to brush it off. Accumulated aggravations…accumulated impact.

Therefore, it’s crucial I don’t collect aggravations. I’ve heard the verse many times: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger…” (Ephesians 4:26). I know it. But honestly sometimes I ignore it. I go to bed mad anyhow. I collect the aggravations because I’m too tired to talk. Or, I don’t want to deal with it. Or, I try to convince myself it’s not a big deal to go to bed mad.

But when I keep reading one more verse, Ephesians 4:27, I understand why I should deal with little aggravations when they are still little. They might not stay little long. Why? Because verse 27 finishes with a strong warning, “and do not give the devil an opportunity.”


The devil is just waiting for me to give him an opportunity. I picture him looking at me getting mad over the stupidest things hissing, “Go to bed mad…go to bed mad…oh yes go to bed mad and give me an opportunity.” That just sends shivers down my spine.

As it well should.

I love my man. I get aggravated with my man. But I love him. So, I certainly don’t want to open the door of opportunity for the devil to turn small aggravations into big ones.

So, I put down the pizza and kissed my man’s cheek. “I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t give you that kind of grace.”

To which he replied back with a big smile, “I still think we should have asked for a discount or coupons.”

Like I said, I love this man!


  1. Anndra says

    Thank you so much for this! It is exactly what I needed to hear this morning, What a great explanation as to why we have such little grace for those closest to us. And yes, what a scary thought that we are giving the devil an opportunity. He would like nothing more than to destroy our marriages. I am starting a new Bible study tonight with your book, “When Women Say Yes to God”. That is how I found you. I can’t wait!

  2. says

    OUCH–I needed that, Lysa! Thanks for the concept of “accumulated impact;” it helps me to understand why sometimes I have trouble showing grace to my husband. Thanks also for the picture of the devil being happy when I’m angry…I pray that will overcome my reluctance to show grace to my husband.

  3. Tammy says

    Lysa, Thanks so much for the Pizza Man Grace prayer. I feel God gets so tired of the same prayers that I pray and I know I get tired of saying the same thing over and over again. I have decided to put a little humor in my prayers so God will be excited when he hears my prayers and may respond “Oh yeah – here is another prayer from Tammy” so next time when I need grace I will ask God for Pizza Man Grace and maybe that will be a smile on His face and mine!

  4. Mary says

    Hope you got the rest of the pizza! Thank you, I have been dragging a whole pile of hurt about things I think my hubby should do for us, know we need and help with. I need to cut him some slack and just plane ask for help with out the “tone” we attach to those requests. I need to give my kids that kind of grace too. Thank you for the reminder!
    Love that you share real life with us. I appreciate you!
    Hugs too!

  5. Sandy says

    Lysa, this one totally hit home. I find myself giving grace to strangers but when it comes to my husband or kids….. well lets just say, I slip and fall. Thanks for the reminder that when I let the sun go down while still aggravated I am giving the devil an opportunity, and I most definitely dont want to be doing that!!! Thank you for the encouragement!!!

  6. Carolyn Rogers says

    Today’s post is the perfect example of why I love your blog and heart. It is so refreshing to read that I’m not the only one who can muster up patience and grace for strangers but can “spew” at my own beloved family. I would give or do anything for my husband and kids. So, how is it possible I can’t even be kind to them over the simplest things sometimes? Anyway, I’m sorry you spewed at your husband but I’m glad the Lord used that experience for you to reach and teach with it. God bless that hubby of yours (and all of ours for that matter!).

  7. Nancy says

    Okay, okay, okay… This is probably the 10th thing that I’ve read or heard over the past 3 days that refers to Ephesians 4 and talks about grace and forgiveness. God certainly is driving home a point to me. Giving and accepting grace and forgiveness have always been so hard for me. I thank God for giving me these words that I really need to hear (hence the 10 times in on weekend!) and for giving me the grace and forgiveness every time I fail miserably in offering grace and forgiveness to others, especially my husband. Thank you for this timely word in my life!

  8. says

    This is so true! It’s easier to act this way around relative strangers b/c we don’t have the accumulation of little frustrations over time with them. Such a good point…

  9. Quinta says

    WOW! This hit me square between the eyes, and I am glad it did. Thank you for your realness!

  10. JoAnna says

    Really like the way you handle things and hubby. Tell me how do I handle a man whose retired ?? I work 40 hrs a week , do all cleaning, cooking and laundry.. How in the world do I get any help???

  11. Heather P says

    You are right that we tend not to give that kind of grace to those we relate to daily! Thanks for the reminder!!

  12. says

    Oh sister, you are preaching to the choir… Maybe even the Director! Guilty guilty guilty. Thank you and I did some apologizing to my man yesterday. Blessings

  13. Sabrina says

    THIS was the Word of the Lord to me today! Thanks so much! I felt like the Lord said,”The longer history you have with someone the shorter “Grace Rope” you give them, my brothers and sisters this should NOT be!” I am in AWE of the powerful word this is!

  14. Sweet Tea Friend says

    Lysa, Well said… I have thought the same often. That we can be more gracious to others, but our hubbys and children don’t seem to fall under that grace. I have just finished reading your book Who holds the key to your heart. I would recommend it for everyone. I will be going back threw to read again. And in there you talk about the secrets…Satan wants us to keep and makes us feel we are unworthy. Lysa, thank you for this book. It has come at just the perfect time. I feel myself growing closer & closer to God. Along with Craig Groschel”s Soul Detox. Hugs for your day, Linda 🙂

  15. Colleen Gudge says

    Thanks for today’s blog. I love the “accumulated aggravations…..accumulated impact”. Also a big struggle of mine. Helped drive it home that it’s important to not let the daily activities build up so that we’re overwhelmed and/or not getting enough rest so that Satan can push our buttons.
    By the way, praying that our next Women’s Bible Study group will be “Unglued”!
    In Christ,

  16. Dory says

    Wow Lysa! Did you and Melanie plan this? I guess I needed the 1 – 2 Punch! Both your messages were exactly what I needed to hear today and what I heard yesterday from a couple dear friends. Thank you, thank you, for what you do and what you share that is so “real” and helps us to realize that we are not alone. I have been going down a path headed directly straight downward and I feel like God is holding out a branch to me and asking, “will you take it?” “Let me help pull you back up”. My marriage was again headed down disaster slope. But He gives me Hope! He softens my heart! I KNOW that He can help me through this. Why am I so stubborn! Why can’t I let go of the pain! Why do I want to hold onto it? Why! My accumulated pile of hurt, anger and resentment is almost so big, it is blocking my way out! It is amazing how good it feels to reach out and grab a hold of the branch, the relief, the break from carrying it all around on my shoulders. I want to let it go, Lord, please help me! Please pray for me Lysa! (and yes, this is the Dory you know from Charlotte)

  17. Casey says

    Wow…that is me. I am able to extend that to others, but not so much my own. Thank you for those words. Hope the pizza was good!

  18. Connie Martin says

    Wonderful post today. Tried to not go to bed angry when I was married, but like you I tend to be a “stuffer” of my hurts, big and little. Then when I’ve hit “full” I usually let go with both barrels over something that is actually very small and insignificant.

    If, at sometime in the future, I ever remarry I am going to work on not “stuffing” thing down into the depths and let my thoughts and feelings be known. Who needs an ulcer because we want to avoid conflict?!

    But did you finally get your pizzas?

  19. Toni says

    Man, that one applies to me…to the core. I call it “keeping score” and I try so hard not to do it but it’s so easy to fall back into it! Such a good reminder – thank you”!

  20. says

    Ohhh, I could have used this a couple of days ago. At least now I am equipped with a few verses to remind me properly of what I knew was right. I need to learn to deal with it & let it go.
    Thank you

  21. jeannie k says

    Thanks for this, Lysa. I have this accumulated aggrivation problem with my mom. Definitely a growth opportunity.

  22. Hannah says

    Great article! I was just wondering if you personally check and answer the emails we send to you because I am in desperate need of advice on a situation at home that can’t be shared through a comment. Thanks for all the encouragement you always give!

  23. says

    Ouch! I love the way you put it…”growth opportunity.” It’s a funny/lighter way of putting it, but you know it lightens the guilt and that can be freeing. When we blow it and could move toward shame and self-loathing, it might make it easier to “do over” and offer grace the next time. Your story really reminds me that those annoyances and aggravations can be great trials of faith, get our grace muscles pumping, if we learn to treat our loved ones more like the pizza man. Oh my, I can be so grace-less. I love my husband too…and my lack of grace probably doesn’t show it. Sort of makes me cry…

  24. says

    This was a very helpful post. I didn’t see where you were going with it right away, but it definitely gives me some things to think about and apply. Thank you, Lysa!

  25. says

    Accumulated Impact…I love it! It makes so much sense 🙂

    By the way….you and I were named after that same soap star…only my mom didn’t have the foresight to spell my name differently! lol@us! (She really must have made an impact on viewers back then!)

  26. Karen says

    wow! That sure fits us right now! Please help petition God with me that I might have a love perfected for my husband. I ‘m not sure what happened to us, but I think it’s the enemy!!!!

  27. Rose says

    I never realized the whole “acummulated aggravation…accummulated impact” thing, but it totally makes since. I do need to work on this with my husband and kids. I have a question though. What about the BIG things that either can’t go away with one discussion/apology before bedtime or that the spouse isn’t resolving. I have a major, major issue with some choices my husband is making and I’m trying so hard to be patient. He is not correcting the problem; it’s getting worse and I’m trying not to get angry, bitter or feeling used. I love my husband and I want him to prosper and be happy and I want our family to prosper and be happy. Please Lord, help me to continue to have patience, know how to be supportive to my hubby in a way that promotes change, and please help my family to grow in a positive way.

    • Jenny Herring says

      I have found great help for my relationship with my boyfriend (not married — yet!) in “A Lasting Promise” by Scott Stanley and Dan Trathen. One of the best techniques is “Speaker/Listener,” where you say “I really feel X when you Z,” and they repeat back exactly what you’ve said. The book also talks about cases where “the issue is not the real issue.” Maybe that’s your situation. It’s a very helpful book, as is “Love is Never Enough,” although this second book is not exclusively Christian.

  28. says

    I loved this Lysa. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I am often more readily able to give grace to others rather than those I love, especially my husband. Like you, I need to learn that everything doesn’t have to be exactly like I think it should be in my head. That is where the struggle comes from. Seeking perfection in a relationship can certainly kill it quickly. Grace is the answer. Love your posts.

  29. says

    your words are always from the heart. simple and straightforward. this post was sent with God’s perfect timing, as i went to be angry just the other night. thank you for sharing this little moment that you could have ignored and kept to yourself…i praise God for the truth and conviction it is producing in me. Can’t wait to show my man some grace….well more than what the pizza delivery guy gets. hah!

  30. valerie says

    Hi Lysa,

    Let me just start by saying, “Thank you!!” I truly enjoy hearing your words of wisdom. Your words make a difference in my life.
    I have a question about your post. Or more specifically about Ephesians 4:26. What if past experience shows that talking about issues that your angry about before you go to bed seems like giving Satan even more of an opportunity to get me to say things I will regret??? There have been many times during me and my husband’s relationship that something has happened before “bedtime” that makes my angry. When I was younger, I would try real hard not to just go to bed angry because of that verse. Often times I found myself regretting making such a big deal about what happened the night before. By morning it didnt seem like such a big deal anymore.

  31. says

    This story really encouraged me and helped me see things more clearly. I sometimes give more grace to strangers than my husband, and I have been trying to be more aware of this. I appreciated the insight in accumulations. Some accumulations, like great family memories, are beneficial, but there are other things that we should not accumulate. Thanks for the openness.

  32. says

    I like what you said about Satan waiting for us to give him his opportunity. I have said many times that Satan tries to find out what gets to us the most. He knows that with me it’s all about finances. When things are not going right in our household financially, I am not very graceful at all. I forget my place as a Christian and I let Satan cause doubt and fear to rule over my heart. Thanks for sharing this great article!

  33. says

    Been there…and yeah, I have the t-shirt.

    I think this sort of relates to something a friend of mine once noticed.
    Some people would never miss a deadline for a stranger / acquaintance.
    Yet, they would easily push back a deadline with a loved one.

    Others, would easily miss a deadline for a stranger / acquaintance.
    Yet, they would never miss a deadline with a loved one.

    I think you can learn about a person from how they respond to those scenarios.
    ~ Dana