Graciousness is something that I observed in my parents and other adults as a child. I venture to say that it is a lost attribute in society today where there is a proclivity towards external awareness of the flaws of others over an internal awareness of one’s own flaws. There exists an ineptness toward esteeming others higher than one’s self, and the common response to an offense is revenge or unforgiveness. Like many values held by our parents and ancestors, graciousness seems to have diminished with each generation. What would happen if graciousness became a valued personal attribute once more? I believe if one knows the value of grace, they are likely to be more grateful. And, grateful individuals extend more grace; they are happier and more content.
What does it mean to be gracious? Being gracious simply means showing kindness, having compassion, showing mercy, extending courtesy, and generally being accepting of one another (Eph. 4:32). One’s level of graciousness can be observed through an offense, an inconvenience, or a trial. Consider the story of Job. How do you respond to an offense, an inconvenience, or a trial? Do you seek revenge, withhold forgiveness, or respond with intolerance or indifference? How do you respond to the misfortune of others? Do you gossip about the individual or withhold support or encouragement? How do you respond when the behavior or decisions of others conflict with your own? Do you judge and reject? To become gracious, we should respond to any situation with ourselves in mind. What response would we want if we offended others? Naturally, most of us would want forgiveness and mercy. What response would we want from others if we fell into unfortunate circumstances? Assuredly, most of us would want to receive kindness, compassion, acceptance, empathy, understanding, and freedom from judgment, like Job.
Recently, there was an incident on my job where I had to travel out of town but the company required employees to share agency vehicles when traveling to the same location. This makes total sense except when you are coming out of a pandemic. Personally, I was not ready to ride in a vehicle with someone just yet. So, I elected to drive my own car and forego mileage reimbursement. My decision to drive my own car became the subject of ongoing and repeated conversations and attempts to force me to rideshare with a co-worker. The topic of ridesharing for this out-of-town assignment was brought up on multiple occasions by multiple individuals in random conversations. I finally wrote a note to the director explaining my disbelief at how big an issue this situation had become. I thought by staying silent, the situation would fizzle out and people would move on to other things. In my note to the director, I explained my reasoning for choosing to drive my own car and asked for grace to make decisions concerning my health and safety.
After explaining my reasoning, there was a significant shift in people’s responses and attitudes. By observing them, I realized that it finally clicked that, “oh yeah, we are in a pandemic. That makes total sense. We should inform leadership that it’s probably not the best idea to have people sharing cars at this time.” In my situation, I ultimately had to share details I wish I did not have to. I wish I had initially received the grace to make my decision without feeling like I had to give an explanation. I wished others would have just accepted my decision but that’s not what happen. In this instance, although there was no reward to the grantor for the extension of grace, it would have pleased me greatly as the recipient of the grace.
Being gracious bears witness to the fruit of the Holy Spirit. How well do we share this gift (Gal 5:22-23) given us by His Supreme Grace? There is no comparison to the grace we receive from God. His grace is all-sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9). His love and kindness, compassion, mercy, courtesy, acceptance, and forgiveness are unparalleled. How many opportunities exist during a day, a week, a month, a year, or our lifetime to extend grace to others? I endeavor to be more conscious of extending grace to those that do not behave like me, whose decisions conflict with mine, and whose circumstances place them in a different position than mine. May we all extend just a little more grace to one another.
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Highlights from Today’s Post:
- Being gracious bears witness to the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)
- Being gracious means showing kindness, having compassion, showing mercy, extending courtesy, and being accepting (Eph. 4:32)
- Knowing the value of grace leads to personal gratitude and happiness
- God is the ultimate extender of grace and it is all-sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9)