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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

15 Sep '11

Graciousness

The interactions of Jesus with people overflowed with graciousness, gentleness and love. The only exception was when He dealt with the Pharisees and hypocrites (often one and the same) where he appropriately rebuked their heart attitudes. But think of his interaction with the woman at the well, Mary and Martha, Nicodemus, the blind man Bartemaeus and the list could go on. People gravitated to Jesus because of His love, His unconditional acceptance and the grace which He exuded.

Contrast that with the way we often deal with one another in God's family. Hard words, unnecessary barbs, sharpness, putting others down or in their place, calling into question motives, anger, irritation, unforgiveness and words that once spoken or sent in an email cannot be taken back. There is a great deal of ungraciousness among God's people that is incompatible with the example of Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament.

Think about Paul's letter to the Ephesians on this subject. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up...Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other...Be imitators of God...and live a life of love...(Ephesians 4-5)." Or Romans: "Live in harmony with one another...live at peace with everyone...Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another...(Romans 12-13)."

There are times when we must have hard conversations but even in those they can be done with graciousness. Perhaps the hardest people to be gracious to are those we are closest to because it is easy to take them for granted - a spouse or colleague. The test of our graciousness is not those so much we don't know but those we do know and whose weaknesses we are well aware of.

I want to be known as a gracious leader, friend, husband and colleague. There are days when I fail miserably but my desire is to see people and treat people as Jesus did. This includes kindness and warm courtesy, tact, a merciful and compassionate nature, sympathy, and politeness. It is what my late uncle Warren had that caused us all to want to be around him. He was the definition of graciousness and it was a magnet to others.

Loving others is the foundation of graciousness toward them. Further, they are men and women made in the very image of God. Harsh attitudes don't come from God - loving attitudes do.