Have you ever been shown mercy?
In small or big amounts, have you ever been given a break?
Not the Kit-Kat kind. A real break. A life spared. An unexpected check at the perfect moment. A job you’d desperately sought after, finally attained. A child after the angst of a miscarriage. A marriage redeemed.
To me they both say the same thing: giving one another a break. Cutting one another some slack and operating under the assumption that nobody is perfect and we are all doing the best we can.
What would happen if, in general, we interacted with each other by seeing each others’ struggles instead of faces and names? Instead of being labeled as the pretty girl with long blonde hair, we would see Marriage Crumbling. Instead of seeing the tall girl with buck teeth, we would see Desperately Fearful. Instead of, “Hi, Mary. I’m John,” it would be, “Hi, Lonely. I’m Addicted.” Instead of, “Nice to meet you, Sarah. I’m Jennifer,” it would be, “Nice to meet you, Lost A Child. I’m Dad Committed Suicide.”
Behind that mask of a done-up face is a struggling heart. Your friends. Your co-workers. The people you meet in a bar, at the grocery store and behind the counter at the DMV. Even on a good day, we all have twinges of pain within us. Because we are human. We are imperfect people trying to act perfect and expecting others to act perfect. We make allowances for some people and not for others. We recognize the struggles in some, but not in others. We reserve our anger and our bitterness for those who rub us the wrong way, or who wronged us in some way, or just to jump on a bandwagon for something to do. These people have hurts, too. They cry. They get lonely. They feel undeserving of their lot. They cry out to a God they may or may not believe in, too. Just like you.
What would happen if we remembered that, and interacted with one another as such? How powerful would the change be in humankind if every single one of us did that? I understand that such a proposition sounds naïve and unreasonable. So how about let’s start small: start in your corner of the world. Watch the ripple effect as you show others grace. Unwavering, ever-patient grace. Stubborn, in-your-face, I-know-you’re-not-perfect-but-neither-am-I grace.