Extending Grace to Others

A few different images might spring to mind when you hear the word "grace". For some of us it can be the grace of a ballerina as she moves with elegance and precision. For others, you may envision a family gathered before a meal saying a prayer of gratitude. Today we are using 'grace' as a verb. To give grace is to extend consideration, patience, and goodwill to someone who may not have earned it.

Life moves fast these days and I, like many of us, find patience to be a challenge at times. I struggle with the impulse to give criticism, to quietly judge, and find others' timelines not suitable to my own. I am impatient in situations where a better version of me might find patience. I write people off in situations where I would want another chance.

I am working hard to practice giving grace more often. I have found that if I stop and take the time to put myself in other people's shoes and attempt to understand what others may be going through, it becomes easier to extend grace and kindness in difficult situations. It's still not always easy, but I am hoping that with practice and intentionality, it will become a little easier every day.

What if that person who cut me off isn't just an inconsiderate jerk but speeding on the way to North Florida for the birth of their first child? Or maybe the server that messed up my wife's order isn't just inconsiderate, but is struggling with a recent break-up. Maybe that person that isn't responding as quickly as I'd like isn't just ignoring me, but dealing with a parent with a terminal illness.

I'm sure I don't get it right most of the time, but sometimes, I might. And I would rather err on the side of giving grace than assuming the worst. Extending grace every time we are able sets us on the path to being the change that we want to see in the world.

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