Grace


201_4520Generosity, kindness, benevolence, giving, love and mercy to others

Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues. John Stoot

By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure. Ernest Hemingway

The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail. Ramakrisha

The quality of grace is sadly lacking in today’s world. In many places, those displaying it are considered weak. Being “macho’, hard, “win/lose” and merciless is more exalted. What has happened and is wrong with our world when it is considered weak to be kind, gracious, helpful, and giving?

The truth is those who are gracious are truly the strong ones. Mother Theresa may be the most gracious person of the last century. She was not weak but so very strong. We are comprised of two identities: the outside or readily visible self, and the inside, hidden self. We are like “Jekyll and Hyde”. Our inner nature is often different than our outer nature. The more different our two selves are, the more likely we are to have significant issues.

The true “us” is to be found on the inside. Our outside self tends to be masked and we perform to hide our truer nature. The more uncomfortable we are inside, the more likely we will create a false outside appearance. Defense mechanisms and other irrational behaviors are used to help prevent us from revealing our inadequacies. Those who are the most conceited, vain, arrogant and selfish on the outside are usually desperately trying to cope with the absence of a healthy self-image. They do not like themselves, are uncomfortable with who they are; lacking self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-love.

Many try exhibiting outwardly the opposite of who they are inwardly. Those that are at peace and well-adjusted inwardly are most balanced inside and out. They are more likely to be kind, gracious, gentle and giving. They are more likely to exhibit true grace. They are well-balanced on the outside because they are well-adjusted on the inside. It is so very difficult to be kind and gracious outwardly if we are a fragile house of cards inside.

Desirable qualities and traits are something to be desired. The more we grow and develop, the more we can see what we lack and what needs “fixing”. If it were easy to have it all together, we would already exhibit these desirable qualities. Being gracious is not something that comes naturally; first we have to grow and mature within. We are incomplete and lacking until we have developed graceful qualities. It requires our best efforts to think, practice, and diligently pursue a caring and giving attitude. It will always come from the inside out.

Challenge:  Are you gracious to strangers, friends and loved ones? Would those that know you describe you as being gracious? If so, chances are you are pretty well-balanced inwardly. If graciousness is difficult for you, then it is a ‘red flag’ indicating some inner issues that need attending to. Become committed to working on your inner person. Become a better you. Learn to be gracious to yourself, and then you can be more gracious to others.

Wisdom: Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul. William Hazlitt

Spiritual: (NIV)

And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. Philippians 1:9

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.  2 Peter 1:5

The path of righteousness is like the first glean of dawn shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

In order to understand grace, we look toward God. He is kind, gracious, loving and kind. He has no internal issues, inadequacies, or inconsistencies. In human terms He is perfectly balanced and adjusted. If we want to follow his example, we need to get our act together and overcome the internal issues causing us problems with who and what we are. We need God to anchor and help us to get ourselves together as we should. He will do so.

Prayer:  Thank you for your perfect grace. Help me to become more loving, gracious and kind to others.

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