Have you noticed in recent weeks that we seem to be rushing to take sides on issues? My favorite example is whether or not we should wear masks in public. Just today, I have encountered friends on social media who were extremely passionate about this issue. One stated that she would no longer talk to acquaintance she encountered who was caught in public not wearing a mask. Another stated that it was his right as an American to not wear a mask and that the whole Pandemic was overstated by the press.
I finally was able to get my haircut today and Megan, who cut my hair from behind her own mask, told me about a person who lost their cool and was yelling at people at the salon. The guy was apparently very rude and definitely out of line. Later, they found out that the guy had lost both of his parents in the past few weeks plus he had just lost his job.
I've even been tempted to take extreme sides on an issue. A few weeks ago, I was driving to get some carryout for the family and I noticed a local church with a full parking lot. I immediately became extremely angry. Are they defying local stay at home orders? We are trying to get our businesses reopened as soon as possible and these people are ignoring it? Don't they know the result will be a longer down time and slower recovery? Later I found out that the church was allowing a nearby car dealership to store cars in their lot and that they were not holding services.
We are all under a lot of stress right now and that stress manifests itself in a lot of different ways. We have more vivid dreams. We have trouble getting to sleep. We feel like we need to control something and so we look for an issue that we can take a side on so that we can fight something. It's very natural and very human, but fortunately, there is a cure.
It's called grace.
We need to give each other a little more grace than normal. We should resist taking extreme and simple views on complex topics on social media, but when someone does, we should let it go. We might disagree with decisions being made by local leaders or business owners, but we should also be able to understand the difficulty of making the decisions they have to make. While the people at the salon probably didn't deserve to get yelled at, maybe we can give the guy who has been going through hell a little slack.
The hard part about grace is that the people who deserve it the least need it the most. When you see someone who has a viewpoint different from yours and who is being unreasonable (in your opinion), that is your opportunity to show a little grace. Let it slide. Show a little love. Just listen and acknowledge that these are difficult times.
By focusing on helping others by offering grace, you might just find small relief from your own stress.