Err On The Side of Grace. The Unlikely and Only Way To Change The World

A man got on the subway with four young children who began to misbehave, disturbing the other passengers. It was getting out of hand.

Worse, the father seemed distant, not correcting or even seeming to care about his kid’s behavior. (Doesn’t that bug you?)

Finally, one passenger got the courage to say something: “Sir, do you see how your kids are acting? Jeez, why don’t you do something about it?

The father turned and through swollen eyes replied, “Well, we just came from the hospital where their mother just died… I’m not exactly sure how they should be acting.”


The point is, you never know what’s going on with someone. Perspective is everything.

So my tip this week is simple: 

Err on the side of grace. 

Why not err on the side of grace? What have we got to lose?

What if we all, as a default gave the benefit of the doubt? 

What if we sought to understand before being understood? 

What if we, as my one-time guitar teacher, Robert Fripp says, “Assume the virtue?” 

Well, let’s look at that…

Grace means you get what you don’t deserve.

First there’s mercy which means suspending the consequence. Beyond that is forgiveness, which means wiping the slate clean.

Grace means not just mercy and forgiveness but you’re also given something awesome instead of the consequences.

“Grace. It’s a name for a girl. It’s also a thought that… changed the world.” -Bono of U2

The fact is, grace could change the political landscape. Grace could ultimately stop wars and end poverty. Grace could heal this world.

In fact not only could it, it’s the only thing that can.

But let’s get back to each of us as individuals. The world says either you’re a victim so whine and complain, or get revenge, get what’s coming to you, hit back, make them pay.

Why, instead, should you and I offer grace to those who harm and persecute us, those who clearly deserve the exact opposite?

Well… because we’re going to need it.

You WILL mess. I WILL mess up. The tables WILL turn.

And when we do, we will need, we will want, we will long for grace.

And won’t it feel a lot better to know we’ve offered grace when others harm us, as we now ask for it?

I got that phrase, “Err on the side of grace,” from my friend, Mark Hollingsworth, Godfather to my son, Zachary, a man who’s spent most of  his life feeding hungry children throughout the world through Compassion International.

And while I mess up more than most, I really aspire to live by that.

Err on the side of grace. When in doubt, welcome before rejecting, forgive before judging, love before fearing.

Err on the side of grace.

Pass this along, someone really needs it.

Live truly, truly live,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *