We’ve all done it. Probably, it is even more common among those of us who innocently claim that we never have. We blunder, misspeak, drop the ball, provoke and otherwise err in countless ways, countless times. So often, in fact, that our collective literature is rife with quotation reinforcing our flawed nature. “To err is human” begins the aphorism; and rightly concludes, “to forgive divine.” One imagines the intent of the tidy quote is to remind us of celestial authority over our humble existence, namely grace. But for too many, it is used to excuse our own responsibility to try to forgive. Routinely missing personal performance standards, we cling in judgment to the failings of others.
Perhaps, it is understandable. Our own egos preserve us. And, our critique of others is crucial in selecting mates, partners and cohorts. Still, can we find our own failings as quickly as we find them in others? And if we do, can we reconcile our mistakes, first forgiving ourselves even as we endeavor to improve?
The internet delivers more than 9 million results for the question: How to get salt out of stew? One can safely assume that each entry provides roughly the same answer: Add more stew! While our personal journey of faith can provide us with a map to divine forgiveness, the human sort of mercy may require a bit more stew. Once we have been labeled, rightly or wrongly, by our actions, or misperceptions of them, we are left with a stew that may be too salty for the palate of those around us. Our children find us condescending. Our boss finds us lazy. Our spouse finds us disinterested. Are we trapped by it – or can we find a way to add more stew? We can demand they eat the salty stew, but should we?