With a thick blanket of snow still on the ground, it’s hard to believe that it’s the middle of March already. We’re two and a half months into a new year and an incident this week reminded me of my One Word for 2018.
How am I doing? My initial response indicated to me that I still have some growing to do in order to become the woman of grace that I would like to be. It also prompted me to think about what that woman would look like. How would she respond in challenging situations where it’s sometimes difficult to show grace?
Almost three years ago, Christian author, speaker, and Bible teacher, Kathy Howard, penned this list of 15 characteristics of grace (compiled from passages in Ephesians and 1 Corinthians) on her blog.
A person of grace…
- Doesn’t insist on being right, but seeks to make things right
- Is willing to be inconvenienced
- Seeks the welfare of the other person
- Speaks words that build up, not tear down
- Doesn’t demand to be heard, but strives to listen
- Focuses on others needs instead of their own
- Acts with humility, not pride
- Doesn’t keep score
- Looks for ways to help and encourage others
- Freely forgives
- Seeks to understand
- Doesn’t expect a return
- Focuses on the important over the urgent
- Doesn’t pick and choose whom to show grace
- Doesn’t overlook sin, but encourages holiness
I would also add…
16. Doesn’t always have to have the last word
After this week’s incident, I think perhaps I need to focus on #4. I consider myself quite gifted with words, but it’s a gift that can be used positively or negatively. I can speak life or condemnation. It’s pretty easy for me to write a scathing response to something that irritates or upsets me, but as a person of grace I would choose to use gentler words.
Does this mean that a gracious person is wishy-washy? Absolutely not! It’s entirely possible to be strong, even assertive, and yet still be gracious. Jesus was a perfect example.
That thought brings me to #7, another area for self-examination. Humility. But that will be the topic of another post.