Today’s topic is a hard one for me. Gracious is defined as “marked by kindness and courtesy” and when we talk about God’s grace, grace is defined as “a kindness we don’t deserve.” I really need to work on being an example of grace to my family. It’s not that I’m not a nice person, it’s that I have a temper and I find it so hard to stay kind sometimes.
As I’m sure is common in many marriages, my husband knows just how to get under my skin, too. For many years now, it’s been one of my main goals to try extra hard to keep my cool, stay pleasant, and and show my husband some grace when tense moments arise (regardless of whether or not he “deserves” it.) I frequently fail, but many times I do manage to succeed.
This is a foreign concept in our society, it goes against the grain. We don’t like being nice to people when they are in the wrong, or not nice to us, being frustrating, trying our patience, complaining, or being negative. We certainly want to make sure that *we* aren’t taken advantage of, walked all over, mistreated or shortchanged.
But God asks more of that from me. As His child, as I learn to be more like Him, I learn to extend more grace to those around me, to show them the love and kindness that God show me, to love Him most but then also “love my neighbor.”
This begins first at home, with my husband (and then my children, and so on.) My husband isn’t perfect, but then neither am I. (My short temper is proof enough.) Frustrations and negative situations do not excuse my temper by any means. But I’ve also learned that responding to negative situations with grace and patience not only go a long way toward keeping the peace but it’s an excellent way to love those I love, to teach them how to love, and even keep my temper in check better and longer. Kindness is contagious, ya know?
I don’t like knowing that I’m so quick to snap under pressure. I really don’t like how I feel when I do. It’s not good for my relationship with my husband, either, if I snip and snap frequently. I would rather be known as a woman who practices kindness, not perfect, but intentionally practicing grace. I know a woman, a wife and a mother, who always stood out to me for the kind and gentle way that she would respond to everything — even when disciplining her children and being firm, she would be kind. That amazes me. It’s something that I pray for, something that with much I practice I hope to eventually achieve.
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12: 9-21 (Emphasis mine.)
In what ways can we practice having an attitude of graciousness throughout our day, when our husbands are grumpy, our kids are disobedient or things are just not going our way?
(Next week’s prompt word is “Helpful.”)