The word grace is often associated with many different meanings. It can mean anything from someone's name to the elegance someone holds. The less common meaning is that of forgiveness and mercy. In these times, we make our political and social stances known to the world through social media and the news we choose to consume. Overall social media can be a helpful tool for the way we communicate and live with other people but the least of these is knowing what everyone thinks about every issue on the table.
Over the last few years, there has been a large division and polarization among people that is dividing our world into two. What we all tend to do is form an opinion on a topic or issue facing our society because we deem it necessary and essential to do so. This is a myth that social media and news has placed upon us. This has not only created a line between how we view things but ultimately what we think of others and how we treat them because of it.
These factors lead to a larger rooted problem of placing certain things or people on pedestals in which no one can attain. We often ask for perfection from people without even realizing that we are doing so. Because of these obsessive needs to make split-second decisions on things, our relationships with the people around us suffer the most. The rate of divorce is often a great indicator as to what the capacity for grace is within a relationship. We decide the other person in the friendship or relationship is not worth the work and effort because of a lack of grace and forgiveness.
Grace is a powerful tool that has the capacity of uniting all people no matter what religion, creed, race or background they come from. It goes beyond political or religious affiliation and it can be the missing link in the problem we face with our relationships.
Some Examples of Lack of Grace:
So, what are some examples of a lack or depletion of grace?
"'Cause their waiting just like crows on a wire
They pry and conspire, that's all they do
Baiting to consume and devour
The glory and power they gave to you" -Alter Bridge
This line to the song "Crows on a Wire" by Alter Bridge is a prime example of what we do, especially to our political leaders. We tend to try to raise up the person we like or voted for on a grand stage and then the second they do anything wrong we will jump on their backs and tell them how horrible they were and how disgusted we are with the way they handled things.
In a smaller example, our relationships with our peers at school or work. We have decided that it is not okay for others to make a mistake anymore. The consequences for other’s actions have been made so severe that the moment anyone steps out of line we find the need to post about it or tell someone else about it.
Both of these real-world examples are only some of the many we face and see every day and they plant the seeds of resentment and anger. We must realize that everyone will make mistakes and although some of the mistakes of certain individuals may be made clearer, this should not change how we view that person. If anything, this should give us footing for relatability to everyone.
Who is to blame?
So, who do we blame for this problem of grace and forgiveness? Well, ultimately it boils down to the person you see every day in the mirror. Showing grace and forgiveness to the people around you always starts with where your heart is at when the moment of disappointment or betrayal is most evident. The fundamental cause of why we do not treat other people with grace usually boils down to lack of self-esteem and a heart issue. It will never be someone else's job to make sure that you are where you need to be emotional to give grace to others.
How to move forward:
How do we show more grace and forgiveness to those around us? How will this change the way we view other people as well as ourselves?
The first step toward the ability to show grace to other people is love. Many people view the definition of love differently and they can often view it in a negative light. But from a biblical perspective, the definition of love is stated clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of rights and wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
If we can’t agree on this definition of love, we have another problem in general. This definition of love is how our eyes need to look at the people around us. The first step to grace will always be love. This perspective of what love is supposed to look like is always a great “check-up” on how you are treating the people around you.
The next time someone disappoints you or breaks the trust that you have placed in them, look at them through the lens of love. Too many times when emotions are involved we rush to decide on what we should do or how to handle the situation. Instead of tearing someone down for making a mistake we should show grace and compassion toward them.
When was the last time someone was thrown off by the way you offered grace to them when they made a poor decision? As stated above, grace is a powerful tool in the way of building healthy and strong relationships with other people that will last. We seemed to be hard pressed to find meaningful relationships but a lot of this is our own doing. However, these are the kinds of relationships our hearts long for if we really search ourselves.
When you show someone grace after a lapse in judgment or even lapse in character, they will view it as a foreign concept but will always be grateful and appreciative that you did so.
The New-Found Grace:
The lost art of being gracious is routinely overlooked or swept under the rug along with the difficulties of relationships. But it is a pillar of developing long lasting relationships with people you care about and people who will truly care about you. The first step in achieving a world that is full of people who show grace to those around them is love. When we choose to master the concept of true love to those around us, we open the door to the capacity of showing grace and forgiveness to even the least deserving person.
If we truly wish to be more united as a people we must learn the art of grace. When you show grace, it will begin a heart changing transformation for yourself. Not only will you look at the world with a new pair of glasses, you will also be filled with pure joy and happiness. If we wish to attain a world rid of division we will need to stand upon the foundation of a new-found grace.