There was a time in my life that I prayed that I might be a woman with a gracious spirit. That my mouth would pour out words of grace. I suppose I’ve grown in this area, but it’s still a prayer and a constant work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Too often my words are blunt, to the point and lack grace. I was once told that I have no trouble speaking truth but lack the love part of it. At first I thought, “but I am saying this because I love you. I am speaking truth in love.” I was saying it as nice as I could. I knew my motives were right. I had spent much time in prayer. But the person still felt I lacked love in my delivery of truth. It’s taken me a long time to understand what they really meant is that my words lacked grace.
To be honest I still struggle and at times just choose to be silent for fear of being misunderstood. I realize that words and motives are misunderstood even if we’ve said them with grace and love. I realize that sometimes people hear something we never said. They misinterpret what was said and we can’t always be responsible for what people think they hear.
Still, I desire my words to be grace filled. I want my words to give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29)
Jerry Bridges reminds us in Transforming Grace that “…we cannot exercise grace as God does, but we can relate to one another as those who have received grace and who wish to operate on the principles of grace.” This is my prayer, that I might “operate on the principle of prayer.”
But what does that look like? Grace is seen in our lives when we express gratitude, contentment, humility, forbearance and forgiveness.
If I speak to someone with an attitude of self-importance or self righteousness then I am not being gracious in my speech. I also can’t speak to someone with an attitude that comes across as if I have a right to. Grace gives up it’s right to be right.
I can speak words of grace when I allow God’s love to flow out of me. I can speak words of grace when my heart is open toward others and invite them in to a safe place. A place that allows them to make mistakes or have weakness. Grace allow a person room to grow.
In truth it comes down to this, my words will never be filled with grace if I run ahead without God leading. I must be willing to slow down, think about what I am to say and how it might come across. I can not help how others receive my words or how they might misunderstand them but I can do everything within my power through Christ to be sure they are words filled with grace and love.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God 1 Peter 4:8-10
Join me for 31 Days of Seeking Grace