BRADY COLUMN: Cutting One Another Some Slack

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, June 7, 2022

By Hal Brady
Operates a Christian ministry in Decatur

A Methodist minister tells about a newspaper article she read. The article stated the fact that we don’t cut anyone any slack these days. The writer of the article shared an experience he’d had where he was unfamiliar with an intersection and had done the wrong thing. And because he had done the wrong thing he had irritated several other drivers. People shouted at him angrily, some made gestures toward him, while others impatiently honked their horns. Even something as simple as that common experience tests us as to how we treat one another.

As that Methodist minister so well attested, Jesus says that cutting one another some slack makes for happiness. In the beatitudes, Jesus says, “Happy are the merciful,” “Happy are the peacemakers,” “Happy are those who are persecuted for goodness.”

So how do we cut one another some slack?

It has to do with these things: Empathy, which means entering fully through imagination into another’s feelings or circumstances. Max Lucado, minister/author, reports that the passenger is called to gate 26. The passenger looks a the ticket agent. with bird-dog eyes. The airport is packed. Everybody is all over each other. Since the earlier flight was late arriving, how is this passenger supposed to make his connection. Anxiously, the passenger asked the ticket agent, “Are there any seats left?” the passenger is winking but the ticket agent doesn’t notice. She looks at the screen and sighs.

“I’m afraid…” The passenger thinks, “Afraid? Afraid of what!”

“Afraid you’ll have to spend the night in the men’s rest room.” “Afraid the only seat left is on the last row, between two sumo wrestlers” “Afraid you’ll be rerouted through Afghanistan.”

But she said none of these things. She said. “I’m afraid there are no more seats in in the coach. We are going to have to bump you up to first class. Do you mind if we do that?” The passenger thought, “Do you mind if I kiss you?”

That ticket agent demonstrated empathy. The idea is to be sensitive to the needs of others-to walk in their shoes or , at least, to try to walk in their shoes.

A second way we cut another slack is through forgiveness! As someone rightly observed, “When we forgive, we set the prisoner free, and we discover that the prisoner we set frees us.”

It is said that one time Leonardo da Vinci had an argument with a man. He lashed out against the man with bitter words and threatening gestures. When the argument was over, Leonardo went back to his canvas where he was working on Jesus. He could not make one stoke. At last he realized what the trouble was. He put down his brush and made peace with the man. Then he returned to his studio and calmly returned to painting.

One more way we can cut each other slack is to give each other the benefit of the doubt! There’s a story about a mother who returned home after attending a national convention of feminists. She was greeted by her five year old daughter who said, “While you were gone, mommy, I decided what I wanted to be when I grow up.” “Oh, that’s wonderful,” the mother replied. “What do you want to be?” “I want to be a nurse,” the little girl said. The mother could barely contain her disappointment. “Honey, you don’t have to settle for being a nurse. In today’s world you could be a doctor, airline pilot, the head of a large corporation or even the President of the United States. You can be anything you want.” The little girl’s eyes brightened. “I can be anything.” “That’s right sweetheart,” her mother answered her.  “Okay. I’ll be a horse.” We can give each other the benefit of the doubt. Happy are those who give one another some slack. Jesus said, “Happy are the merciful, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for the goodness.”