MAY WE BE...
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
What does it mean to BE gracious? Does it just mean be kind? Does it mean be patient? Does it mean be courteous? Yes, it does, and so much more. It means to BE like our wonderful Savior. The One who showed us kindness when we didn't deserve it. The One who is patient with us every day as we work our way along this human journey. The One who never fails to hear our cries, hold our hands, and heal our wounds! Our God continually extends tidal waves of His goodness to us even when we don’t deserve a single drop, and He has called us to do the same to others. That's what it means to BE GRACIOUS.
Take a moment and reflect on this prayer by the great Charles Spurgeon:
We desire to praise the name of the Lord with our whole heart, so many of us have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Truly Thou hast delivered us from the gulf of dark despair, wherein we wretched sinners lay. Thou hast brought us up also out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay. Thou hast set our feet upon a rock and the new song which Thou hast put into our mouths we would not stifle, but we would bless the Lord whose mercy endureth forever.
We thank Thee, Lord, for the love without beginning which chose us or ever the earth was, for the love without measure which entered into covenant for our redemption, for the love without failure which in due time appeared in the person of Christ and wrought out our redemption, for that love which has never changed, though we have wandered, that love which abideth faithful even when we are unfaithful.
God is gracious to us and extends His love toward us over and over. So many of us have been truly blessed and have, as Spurgeon pointed out, "tasted that the Lord is gracious!" (1 Peter 2:3) Truly we have been the benefactors of God’s graciousness. That same graciousness, which we have received freely, should flow easily from our lives into the lives around us.
We have many opportunities to show His grace to others. People are hurting and confused. People are afraid and frustrated. What they need, what we all need, is a fresh outpouring of His grace. God's grace shows up to this world through you and through me. It shows up through relationships and closeness, through friendships that don’t falter, through kindness that is unconditional, and through presence that is practical and patient. May We BE gracious. May we show them Jesus!
If we are all honest, it is often difficult to be gracious in moments of frustration with people, jobs, the unknown, family, or some combination of all of those! Though it comes so naturally for us, frustration is the anti-grace state of mind when it comes to how we deal with others and situations. When we're frustrated our grace runs low. So, let's take on this challenge: trade in our frustration for God’s grace.
To participate in the Trade-In Challenge:
1. Go to the Grace-Giver
Every time you feel frustrated with a situation or a person or whatever it may be, take a moment and go to God and ask Him to let you see the people or situations (or both) through His eyes of grace. Pray: God, let me see _________ as you see them (it).
2. Practice Being Gracious
a. Read, Write, Memorize Matthew 7:12 (The Golden Rule) and allow it to be your standard of interaction with the world around you.
b. Consider the feelings of others: If I were in his/her shoes, how would I feel or what would I need?
c. Listen. Demonstrate God’s compassion in listening and thoughtfulness.
d. Ask: Does this person or situation need something from me beyond being present and listening? If yes, do it.
As we do this regularly, we will have more of His grace to extend to those around us. We will have more patience, more kindness, more love, more of all the good God stuff that the world needs! Let's agree to trade-in our frustrations for His grace and then pass it along to the world around us. May We BE GRACIOUS!