“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalm 145:8-9
We’ve all met people who seem to say and do the right thing at the right time and in the right way. Being gracious, however, is more than being courteous and well-mannered. While we can be taught how to behave properly, being gracious is not mere outward behavior. Genuine graciousness comes from the inside out because it’s generated by God’s grace.
What exactly is grace? Well, most commentators agree that grace is the unmerited favor of God. It’s how He freely demonstrates His goodness to humanity, even though we’re undeserving of His goodwill. Psalm 145:8-9 tells us that every person receives some measure of God’s grace, just by living in the world He created.
But the greatest expression of God’s grace toward humankind is His gift of salvation. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” And Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Since we cannot live up to the standard that God’s holiness requires, He graciously provided a way at Calvary. The holy Son of God died for sinful people. God’s favor toward us is not based on anything we do or don’t do, but is based completely on His love, mercy, and grace. It’s this saving grace that transforms us; allowing us to develop the quality of graciousness.
This is where we have to get brutally honest with ourselves. Through salvation we admit that we can’t meet the standards of God’s holiness by our own merit, and we gratefully accept His grace. Yet we often require the people in our lives to live up to our standards and expectations. That’s hoarding grace! It doesn’t matter whether we’re on the giving or receiving end—grace is an undeserved gift.
Would your family and closest friends describe you as “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love?” Although demonstrating God’s character is a high standard, that’s what being gracious is all about! The quality of graciousness starts with an inward realization of God’s grace that results in a new outward reality. Will you share or hoard that grace today?