A little grace
Last updated 7/28/2021 at Noon
Outrage is America’s drug of choice these days. Somebody says something or does something we don’t like, we take a BIG hit of that 150-proof outrage and start mashing the buttons on our social media. Social media is a powerful accelerant and amplifier of the high. Not only can we indulge our own craving for some righteous anger, if we can really get it going, we can share the experience with a whole bunch of other angry, outraged people. It’s a party!
Trouble is, benders are destructive — not just to those on the receiving end of the outrage binge, but also to the perpetrators. You can’t make yourself big by making someone else small. In fact, in humiliating and diminishing others, we diminish ourselves. The remorse hangover from that doesn’t feel too good.
We all screw up sometimes. We say something that comes out wrong; we do the easy wrong thing instead of the hard right thing; we’re impatient when we should be patient. When we blow it, we hope others focus on our good intentions, rather than our words or actions. We hope they recognize that maybe we were just having a bad moment. We hope for a little grace.
All too often, we’re slow to extend to others the kind of grace we want for ourselves. We assume the worst of them, that they’re acting in bad faith or out of meanness or some other selfish or unsavory motive.
Maybe we need to take a step back and put down that outrage-delivery device and cut each other some slack. People have been under real stress for a long time. Businesses here in Sisters that are trying to recover from COVID-19 restrictions are facing acute staffing shortages that make it hard to serve their customers. Those who are working are trying to do more than they realistically can. The constant threat of wildfire in a deep drought has us all on edge.
It may momentarily feel good to release some of the tension we all carry with a good shot of outrage — but the short-term high isn’t worth the long-term damage. We’ll all be better off if we can offer each other a little grace.
Editor in Chief