If I Get Grace, I’ll Get Gracious
Read Ephesians 4:17–24
One under-taught aspect of the doctrine of grace: If you’ve received grace, it should be making you gracious. In fact, Christians, if they are really immersed in their doctrine of grace, will be the most gracious people on the planet!
Our world needs this!
Columnist Martin Smith asks, “What social pathology explains the reluctance of so many people to pull over for passing funeral processions, to make small talk with fellow passengers, to exchange the pleasantries that for generations helped lubricate social discourse?”
Ours is a combative, aggressive, vulgar culture. But the kingdom of God’s culture is a gracious, forgiving, beautiful one. And we, as its ambassadors, should reflect that culture to everyone we meet.
John Vawter wrote a great book about this called Uncommon Graces. He talks about listening well, treating people with gentleness, showing mercy, and being kind. This kind of graciousness opens people’s hearts to hear the story of a gracious God.
In his book he talks about how Andy Rooney, the commentator from 60 Minutes, got into a New York taxi one day. He expected the typical New York abrasiveness from the cab driver, but instead he got a cheerful “Hello!” and a warm smile. And that was just the start! The driver was gracious and talkative during the whole trip.
It was such an unusual experience that before he got out of the cab, Rooney asked the guy why he was so polite and courteous.
“I’m out to change New York!” the driver said.
“But… you’re just one guy,” said Rooney.
“I know, but I figure if I show kindness to you, you’ll show it to the next person you meet, and they’ll pass it on to someone else. It’ll be like a big, expanding ripple, spreading out through the whole city!”
That’s a guy with vision about the power of graciousness!
There is a ripple effect and that’s one reason 1 Peter 3:16 says to share your hope “with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.”
Gracious behavior helps pave the way for the doctrine of grace.
Psalm 103:8 says that God is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” These characteristics of a gracious God can be reflected in you!
But does being grace-filled toward others mean I’m a mealy-mouthed weak-willed pushover? Does it mean I’m always mumbling apologies? More tomorrow!
How are you at being gracious? To whom is it most difficult to be gracious?
How does your graciousness level reflect an awareness of God’s grace?
Thank God today that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Ask Him to help you be like that too — starting with your next interaction today!