Having recently returned home from a visit to New York City, where an abundance of energy-zapping heat, humidity, and overcrowded streets reminded me of the constant need to grant grace to others, I have become keenly aware of the plethora of daily opportunities we all have to do so:
There’s the barista who botches the coffee order.
The postal worker who puts the mail in the wrong box.
The dog owner who doesn’t clean up after her pooch.
The doctor whose overbooked schedule creates an extra-long waiting room stay.
The server who drops the ball, leaving tables unattended.
The neighbor who doesn’t take care of his property.
The driver who moves too fast, too slow, forgets to use a turn signal.
The family member who refuses to do or see things our way.
The woman who doesn’t dress or style her hair the way we would.
The guy who has an opinion or orientation or religion that goes against our beliefs.
These instances (and many, many more) represent occasions for grace. We can choose to react critically or we can choose kindness. We can make a snap decision to judge others against the yardstick of our individual expectations and experiences or we can take a moment to remember our collective flawed humanness. To remember that we, too, not only need, but also often fully expect, to be pardoned for and separated from our own perceived mistakes or unconventional choices.
As we go about our lives today, as we are faced with opportunities to grant or withhold forgiveness, let us remember that it is in the midst of both our differences and our similarities that we grow in understanding and compassion. Let us remember the golden rule to love as we wish to be loved. And let us remember that grace isn’t just a pre-dinner offering of gratitude to God, but a daily gift that we can give to each other.