What’s so hard about giving grace?

April 22, 2024

I’m not sure I ever understood what giving grace really meant until recent years.

It means giving someone: the chance, the time and the ability to make mistakes without punishing them for an act. And it means forgiveness.

We are such a judgey society, so quick to jump on someone who falls short. Judgmental social media comments I see sometimes make me cringe. Ok, at least every day I see cringeworthy comments on posts others make. More than sometimes.

Judging is our default. Insulting seems to be a very natural response. Withholding forgiveness, punishing–these are all hallmarks of the uncivilized society we now live in.

It is ungracious.

I fall short

I find myself looking at times I haven’t given grace and then, later, learned something new that made me regret my hard line. Here’s a public example:

Country singer Luke Combs was criticized for his 2023 hit cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, one of my all-time favorite songs. It had been 35 years since Tracy released it and now, this country dude charted with a very similar cover of it. The media went crazy. The thought was that as a queer, black woman, she’d have no chance to have a country hit song with that song or any other. How dare this white guy have a hit with her song?

That made sense to me. Black musicians have been historically financially abused by the music industry –that goes back a really long way. Although Tracy, herself, didn’t seem bothered. She simply said she was honored to have her song chart on the country list and was happy for his success. Class act, that one. And as the songwriter, of course, she made money on his hit. As she should’ve.

Grammys Example 1

Then came the 2024 Grammys. Luke did a short, taped segment in which he spoke about how his father had played the song for him many times when he was a child, and how it was his favorite song “before I even knew what a favorite song was.” I get that. It’s such a favorite of mine. Just hearing the opening riff gives me chills, still.

Then, he and Tracy took the stage and sang Fast Car as a duet. It was fantastic. It brought tears to my eyes and one reason was that it brought home the unfairness of my thoughts the previous summer. Even then, Tracy had given us a different view, and now, in this powerful duet, in which they both sang the same notes throughout,  they showed me how I –how we– had fallen short. How we’d failed to give grace. Grace that Tracy Chapman, herself, gave.

Grammys Example 2

Same event, only this time, it was when Taylor Swift excitedly accepted her history-making Grammy. The very ill Celine Dion gave her the award and instead of acknowledging Dion, an obviously thrilled Taylor gave an acceptance speech. She made her speech about her. As she should’ve.

And was criticized for not making more of Dion at that moment. I mean CASTIGATED.

I mean, come on, kids. Can the woman not have her own moment? Do we have to judge Swift for doing what anyone getting an award would do? Accept it and acknowledge members of her team.

All I can do is shake my head.

I see that all around me today, this punishment of people for things they say or do before or without even knowing any backstory or context.

We are judgey.

And I don’t like it.

For my part, I’ve sworn to give more grace. To make an effort to be more conscious.

Yes, it can be hard.

But it doesn’t cost me anything.

I think it’s the best way to approach life, don’t you?

Thoughtful, helpful condolence gifts can be found HERE.

6 comments on “What’s so hard about giving grace?
  1. Beth Havey says:

    I agree, we are judgey, and really have no right to be. Because often we have not considered the circumstances of the situation. So much better to remember that we are all human and to find a way to console ourselves.GRACE, yes grace, love that.

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    I agree. The judging that is over the top, for me, is about Harry and Meghan. This couple can’t breathe without every move being parsed out, usually negatively. It’s disturbing.

  3. Alana says:

    I agree, too. Just thinking of Princess Kate and all the controversy surrounding her silence. How dare she be silent? How dare she not be in the public eye every second of every day? Then, we find out the truth of her health. Not only was she dealing with a cancer diagnosis but now she was dealing with rumors of her husband’s infidelity and much, much worse. Some people have publically apologized. I am sure it’s just a fraction of the people who had been generating and making money (or getting views and followers) off those rumors.

    • my view of the Kensington Palace debacle is a little different. The Palace actually misled in hugely ridiculous ways and fed the rumor mill with lies. And that is how all that happened. I think it could’ve gone differently. and should have

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