Merriam-Webster says that to be gracious is to be “marked by kindness, courtesy, tact, and delicacy”. The gracious person is characterized by “a generosity of spirit.” Plainly, we see that the word gracious is related to grace; a term God’s redeemed people are fully familiar with. From the point of salvation we have been experiencing the grace of God day in and day out; and as recipients of innumerable favors from the hand of a gracious God, we ought to extend the same graciousness to others. This generosity of spirit is modeled to us on a daily basis. It is only fitting for God’s children to imitate Him in that same way.
Gracious To a Fault
Ephesians 4:2 explains how to be gracious to a fault. It says, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults.” When we make an allowance for a fault, we accept the other person’s humanity. We accept that no one is perfect. We accept that people make mistakes. We realize that we also make mistakes. We can’t always be and live right. We can never perfectly keep the standard of rightness and we know nobody else can. With this in proper view, we remind ourselves of the reality that other people will hurt our feelings and fail to meet our expectations. And when that time comes, we are ready and able to be gracious to a fault.
It is wrong to be so hard on others when they do something wrong especially when the wrong deed was unintentional. Remember the parable of the unmerciful servant? His master forgave him of his great debt, yet he could not forgive what little debt one person had towards him. If God could be immeasurably gracious with us, how can we not extend some grace towards another?
Sometimes we become victims of repetitive abuse, where someone hurts us over and over again. Discernment must be exercised. Wisdom must be sought from God so that you may know when to exercise tough love, right love. Grace makes allowances for faults but it never condones or tolerates habitual sin.
Gracious In Speech
Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation [speech] be gracious [with kindness] and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” At times we are unable to keep our emotions in check. We get hurt so we lash out in anger. We’ve been treated unfairly so we retaliate with harsh words. We get frustrated so we blurt out demeaning words. Scriptures say it shouldn’t be so. The verse just mentioned puts it so well. Our speech should remain attractive. Attractive words draw people in, not repel them. Attractive words don’t refer to sugar-coated words that make little of or camouflage other people’s sins. Attractive words are right responses that have better chances of leading people to listen and accept the words being shared even if they are words of rebuke.
Sometimes we become victims of verbal abuse. The natural response is to likewise be verbally abusive or to rebuke without grace. In the exchange of hurtful, wounding words, there is rarely any profit. Things don’t get resolved; rather, they escalate. Not one is helped. The situation is not made better. Ephesians 4:29 encourages us to respond in the right way. It says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” In some situations, that can be quite hard to do. Pray for enablement. Pray for strength to remain silent while you gather your thoughts. Then, when you speak, your words will be purposeful.