“The only thing humans are consistent at is being inconsistent.”
I have heard many wise people make this statement, and over the years have come to realize its truth. However, never have I seen it exemplified more than over the last several months.
COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways. But one of the more interesting phenomena I’ve witnessed result from this pandemic is our inconsistency. Humans have always been inconsistent, but for the first time, our inconsistencies all affect each other. For the first time, it affects other people if you don’t wash your hands. It affects other people if you don’t wear a mask. It affects other people where you go or don’t go.
Now, I’m not trying to make an argument about what you should or shouldn’t do. We’re making new discoveries every day and what we’re told we’re supposed to do is constantly changing. The point I’m trying to make is here is simply that right now we all really care about everyone else’s behavior. This is funny, because we live in a culture that says “you do you, as long as it doesn’t affect me.” What we’re finding is, “you do you” doesn’t work. We all DO affect each other with the choices we make.
This was true before the pandemic, but now we’re living it. There’s a lot of pain and brokenness in our world right now. One of the things that truly breaks my heart is all of the anger, shaming, and judgment on daily display. Social media has become so filled with condemnation and virtue signaling.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we don’t know other people’s hearts. We don’t know their stories. It’s impossible to know what people are going through and why they’re making the choices they’re making.
Yes, people are inconsistent. We notice their inconsistency. But it’s a lot easier to see it in other people than in ourselves.
I am inconsistent. I see it when I notice someone at the grocery store not wearing a mask and am tempted to judge them and then realize I’m on my third grocery store run for that week (I have to say, the one thing I didn’t see coming from this pandemic is how much we all would want to go to the grocery store. It’s my happy place now. Weird times…). I see it when I complain to my little brother about not washing his dishes, only to realize that I have left all my dishes for my dad to clean up. I see it when I sit down to write a blog post about grace, only to realize I have judgment in my heart.
Should we hold each other accountable? Yes. Should we seek to influence leadership to make wise choices? Absolutely. Should we fight for justice? 100 percent. But the Bible says to look at the log in our own eye before calling out our neighbor on the speck in theirs. And we’re called to do everything that we do in love.
So that’s why I’m making a call for grace. In this broken, hurting world, how might things be different if we assumed the best of people? Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t hold people accountable and advocate for what’s right. But whenever possible, let’s try to assume good intentions. Let’s be loving when we call each other out. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt, knowing that we don’t know everything about them and what they might be going through.
Remember, a key component of the definition of grace is that it is not deserved. None of us deserve grace, but let’s offer it to each other anyway.