Are You Gracious?

ID-10069125Lately, I’ve been really saddened by the lack of compassion and understanding that I see in the world.  The worst part is that I am often an offender myself when faced with something I don’t comprehend, identify with, or those things that tick me off.

Sigh….

We are all too quick to make assumptions, voice our unwelcome opinions and judge someone rather than practicing wisdom, discernment and the all-important LOVE.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4:6

The above scripture doesn’t say to spew angry words to get your point across or to prove that you are right…it encourages us to be GRACIOUS with each other and ourselves.

Webster’s Dictionary defines gracious as being “very polite in a way that shows respect” and also as being marked by courtesy or kindness.

What comes out of our mouths really does affect the world around us and our own psyche.  Of course, these days our words can be found not only in our speech, but also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, emails, texts and a variety of other medias that we frequently use.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.  Proverbs 18:2

The world is watching us.  Our kids, friends and neighbors are watching us.  And most importantly, God is watching us.

What do they see?  Are we responding to life with understanding, compassion and grace?

Uh oh…I’m good some days.  Does that count?

Being understanding and gracious doesn’t mean that we are push-overs or that we agree with the evilness of the world.  It means we are following Christ’s example.

In fact, several times in the Bible, Jesus criticized the self-righteousness and hard-heartedness of the religious sect who lacked compassion for others and He HEALED the sick, needy and sinners.  His friends weren’t the ‘people who were getting it right’ – they were sinners, like you and me.

Somewhere along the way, most of us have missed this point.  We have smugly assessed others’ behaviors without minding to our own mistakes, waywardness and disobedience.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1John 2:9-11

Man, OH, MAN…it sure is easy to jump to conclusions and gossip about another’s misconduct.  Plus, it takes the spotlight off of our own inadequacies and offenses.  YIKES!

Following in the footsteps of Christ is not an easy task, but with practice, diligence and persistence, we can hope to be better today than we were yesterday.

In addition, if we really want God to forgive us our sins…we HAVE to forgive others.  We will not be extended His Grace if we are not being gracious to the world around us.

So, how can we take steps to be more understanding, compassionate and gracious?

  1. Listen more.
  2. Speak less.
  3. Think before speaking.
  4. Ask yourself if God would be pleased with what is about to come out of your mouth.
  5. Consider what Jesus would say in any given situation.

None of the above is easy to do.  Lord knows I’ve put my foot in my mouth on more occasions than I’d like to admit because I like to talk.  GRRR…

However, when we remember and focus on the mercy of God…we become more aware of what He wants from us and for us.

Who could you be more understanding and gracious to?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 17:27 – Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

**Photo courtesy of “Love Key” by Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 Responses

  1. The more I try to do & say the right things, the harder it seems to get it right. I know that as I talk with others, I am the worst one to go back in my head to critique everything that I said. Perhaps it is the Evil One trying to make me feel like “you are never going to get this right or be a good witness, so why are you even trying?” Tell me that I am not alone in Monday Morning QB’ing my conversations, but I tend to beat myself up over the misplaced word or the bad joke or the wrong tone or the poor delivery. I do a poor job, so did I become a stumbling block to someone else’s path to the Kingdom? You never know the inadvertent damage that you might cause in someone else’s view of Christianity by the wrong witness. I know… Thinking way too much about it.

    • You are SO not alone! We all grapple with doubt and not being good enough or saying the wrong things! Like I said, my foot gets stuck in my mouth ALL TOO OFTEN! As long as we keep seeking guidance from the Father…it will all turn out just fine!! HUGS!

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