Living out grace

What if we treated each other with more kindness and compassion?

Recently, my kids were telling me about how someone they thought was a cranky person had done something nice, and they were shocked. We chatted a bit more and I told them to remember that you never know someone’s story. You never know what has made them like they are.

I keep thinking about that conversation. We don’t need to excuse or accept bad behavior. But, this world could use so much more grace. A few years ago, I was driving with my grandma in the car. Someone pulled out in front of me, and I had to slam on my brakes. I honked at them. My grandma admonished me telling me they may be on their way to the hospital with a loved one. I pointed out they were going the wrong direction.

However, just because they weren’t heading toward the hospital didn’t mean they weren’t having an awful day. When I think back over my life to the days that were the worst and I was heartbroken, I don’t know how much attention I paid while driving, so maybe having some grace for other drivers isn’t such a bad thing.

We’ve all heard platitudes and reminders to be kind because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It’s easy to gloss over that or roll our eyes or certainly not live it out. But, imagine what the world would be like if we lived that way and people extended grace to each other freely.

What if we let a frazzled mom with a crying toddler checkout in front of us at Target and waited an extra 10 minutes? What if we let another car go first at a stop sign? What if we took the time to actually listen to the older gentleman in the grocery store who just needed someone to talk to? What if we were just plain kind? What if we modeled Jesus everywhere we went? Isn’t that what loving your neighbor ultimately means? Shouldn’t we have patience for one other and give grace to those around us?

I think about how different this world would be if people just tried to understand one another instead of being so internally focused. If everyone walked around wearing a sign telling you all of their struggles, you’d be more likely to show them compassion and grace.

That older lady who knocked into you with her shopping cart and didn’t apologize may have just gotten a cancer diagnosis seven months after burying her husband. That child having a meltdown in the middle of a restaurant (or your own house!) may have had an incredibly hard day at school and is struggling to make friends. People need grace, because not one of us is perfect.

And I would be remiss to not mention that some people are just jerks for no reason. I’ve encountered them, and I’m sure you have, too. There isn’t an acceptable reason for truly bad behavior. But that doesn’t mean the majority of people aren’t good. That doesn’t mean we should stop being kind and extending grace.

You never know if your one act of kindness or grace may change someone’s life for the better. At the very least, it will brighten their day. What are some small ways you can show grace and kindness this week? Join me in seeking them out, living them out and starting to change the world for the better!

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