In a bar in some nondescript midwestern town, two men are having a conversation.
Well, not just a conversation, an argument. They are arguing about politics. They’ve each only had a beer, so this is not some drunken mess, it’s an actual discussion about foreign policy, immigration, that kind of thing. Tempers begin to flare, voices rising as other bar patrons begin to take notice. The bartender looks nervous, wondering if it is time to intervene.
The first guy starts to lose his cool. He makes a verbal jab, not about the politics, but about the second guy’s wife. The second guy blinks for a second, stands up from his barstool, and makes a fist, ready to strike. And then something happens.
The first guy blinks, as if coming back into his own mind. He shakes his head as if to clear it, and quickly takes a step towards the second guy, surprising him. Before the second guy knows what to do, the first man reaches out and embraces the second guy.
“I’m so sorry,” he says. “That was a terrible thing to say. I didn’t mean it. And it’s okay if we disagree on politics. I still like talking with you.” He takes a step back from the other man. “Listen. Can I buy you another beer?”
The second man is dumbfounded. He unclenches his fist, confused for a moment. Then he relaxes. “Yeah. That was uncool man. But okay.”
There are only 7 people watching this encounter. No international television audience. No twitter trending hashtags. Tomorrow’s news won’t try to update the world on this particular hug.
Nobody will even know it, but the ripples spread out, and they change the world.
Those 7 people in the bar witnessed a miracle, and in small ways, it changed them. The way they tucked their kids into bed that night. The slightly gentler conversation with their spouse the next day. The patience they showed to a co-worker. The ripples are subtle, but they continue out.
No, a hug in Akron, Ohio probably doesn’t reach its way to North Korea or to the Kremlin. There is still war and strife and personal and political conflict. You and I will still lose our cool, sometimes in public, perhaps even spectacularly.
But last night, in a bar in some nondescript midwestern town, two men came to their senses and embraced the notion of grace. It may sound farfetched, but if such a thing is possible, then anything is possible.
May you allow the grace of God guide what you say and what you do. You won’t receive an Academy Award for your actions…
but great will be your reward in Heaven.
Have a great week,