In our culture we hear people lament that there isn’t enough civility. Is it possible that in order to get our messages out we have chosen passion and lost graciousness? I personally think it is time to bring graciousness back.
What is graciousness? Graciousness is simply responding to people with intentional grace. Paul says,
5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
He says that we should act with wisdom toward outsiders. In other words, we always remember that we are being watched. People are measuring our response. In our modern world of blogging and Facebook this is even more true now than when Paul said it. So, the first part of graciousness is to always remember that people are measuring what we say. The second part of graciousness is how we respond – is it always with grace? He clarifies how grace should exist in our speech: just like salt goes throughout a dish that it is mixed in with. That is how grace should be in us.
I think I know what question we have next: what does that look like in everyday life? Let me give you some thoughts:
- Stop and think before you respond to anyone.
- Say what you mean. Don’t just say what you feel. (Consider the message your words are conveying to the other person)
- Remember these three questions: Is it kind? Does it edify? Is it necessary?
- Use words and tones that invite conversation and questions rather than win arguments.
If you lament the lack of civility in the world, start today in your own families. If you interact with people in the world, choose graciousness. When you find yourself in conflict, choose graciousness to solve the problem. If you have contact with folks on the web or Facebook, type graciously.
One final thought… I have looked far and wide for a discussion group or blog that showed Christian graciousness. It has been hard. Bloggers are not known for their tact, let alone graciousness. However, I ran across a young lady writing about body image issues (and everyday life) that truly impressed me. No, I am not usually interested in the subject she writes about, but her graciousness in her writing and her response to those who comment on her blog is truly different. So, I have become an avid reader of her blog. Consider that… we are drawn to people (even total strangers) who practice graciousness. If we really want to make a difference in the lives of people around us, shouldn’t we be pictures of grace?
Something to think about,