Every single person you interact with is actively going through something really hard, has walked through something really hard, or will be going through something really hard in their future. None of us escape hard things, and while we’re capable of going through them, it’s so much easier when we have grace for ourselves and each other.
- That cashier who snapped at you? They just had a big life meltdown the day before and don’t have the luxury of taking any time off for mental health.
- The friend who was distracted during your whole conversation and not hardly able to maintain eye contact, let alone listen to what you were saying? They are going through a really frustrating time with finances and it’s taking everything in them to not run away and cry.
- That stranger who cut you off on the freeway this morning? They’re rushing to the hospital to hopefully make it before it’s too late to say goodbye.
- That person you can always count on to pick up your calls when you need them, but didn’t this time? They’re on a call with someone they lean on to get support walking through the loss of their job that they’d had for 15 years.
- That woman who just cannot seem to get her act together and is late for the umpteenth time this month to drop off her kids before she heads to work? She’s a single mom who didn’t sleep at all because she had to take care of her bed-ridden mom who was racked with pain all night, and as soon as she finally started to drift off to sleep, her alarm went off to hurry and get everyone ready for daycare/school (and herself for work), and she still had to make breakfast and lunch for everyone.
- That boss who’s always frustrated with the team, and never seemingly satisfied, no matter how much work is done? He’s reeling at home in an unhappy marriage, where he’s always being picked apart, nagged, and constantly badgered with all the ways he needs to improve and “man up.”
Every single person is dealing with hard things, and some have healthier ways of handling it than others.
- Some have a relationship with God where they surrender it to Him and lean into His joy for their strength.
- Some have close-knit friendships where they can process through this stuff with and come out stronger on the other side.
- Some turn to a vice to distract them from the pain.
- Some sink into depression, not realizing that it’s even possible for anything in their life to change for the better.
For some people, they’re acting out of wounds that happened years ago. For some, the wounds are fresh. But for everyone, regardless of where they’re at, grace is a helpful response. It doesn’t mean you agree with their actions, that you’re condoning their behavior, or that you just think the world of them and look up to them with massive respect – but it does help. It helps you be at peace, knowing you didn’t get wrapped up into their mess. It helps them to not be knocked further down by someone meeting their rudeness with more rudeness.
Have grace, friends. It’s not always easy (and honestly, there are plenty of times where it’s not even a desire in that moment to extend grace), but there’s not one time I’ve regretted responding with grace.
It’s an ongoing work in progress, and something that can always improve, but it’s oh so worth it!
Growth and grace. They go together.