This word keeps coming back to me. G R A C E.
If you look up the word in a dictionary, grace has a number of varied definitions. These are not the idea I have in mind.
Simple elegance or refinement of movement – “She moves with grace.”
The extended time given for a payment – “You have a one week grace period.”
A short prayer before or after a meal – “He said the grace.”
A formal title for a duke, duchess, or archbishop – “May I introduce Your Grace, the Archbishop.”
However, another definition of grace is “courteous goodwill” or “an attractively polite manner of behaving”. Followers of Jesus know grace as the free and undeserved favor we receive from God. We are encouraged to offer that favor to others also.
This idea of goodwill and favor is what keeps showing up in my conversations.
I am continually aware of the desperate need
for grace, for myself and others.
Despite my deep desire to forget that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we are still there. It is still affecting many of our daily choices, opportunities, interactions, and thoughts, yet I often forget that I cannot hope to feel, act, and perform in the ways I did pre-COVID. I get upset with myself for any lack of energy, pervading discouragement, or items that I have not crossed off my to-do list.
That kind of negative self-view and even self-judgment or self-condemnation does nothing positive to help me. It only robs me of the little energy I have, increases my discouragement, and causes my to-do list to appear more unmanageable than before.
I want to treat myself with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, I need GRACE.
Generally, we’ve become quite the certain-we-are-right, quick-to-judge-others, critical-of-anyone-different, angry, downright-cruel people these days. These negative attitudes and views of others are all too evident in every media platform available. I’ve experienced it in-person at stores and restaurants and from drivers on the streets.
I’ve also noticed it in my own heart.
Before I take time to ask questions or get to know someone’s story, I judge their intentions and their actions. Before I know their background, their present or past struggles, their personality, values, or feelings, I offer my opinion, my excuses, my fury, and my criticism.
Those reactions are not helpful to others. They rarely need my ideas; they already know the right things to do. They do not want my excuses; they’d prefer my humble apology and willingness to listen. They certainly do not desire my anger or my critique. They need compassion and love.
I want to treat others with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, they need GRACE.
What will help me behave politely and kindly to myself? Grace.
What encourages me to treat others in a way that is attractive to them? Grace.
When do you most need to give yourself favor? What helps you offer goodwill to others?