Have you ever noticed that some people speak of grace but they are not gracious? I once heard Fred Craddock say that the final act of grace is graciousness. He was right. Meanwhile, others – regardless of their gifts or personalities – extend grace and make an incredible difference in the lives of people.
What does it mean to be a gracious person?
A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise. In fact, a gracious person is not addicted to the attention of others. A gracious person is very comfortable in expressing appreciation and praise to another.
A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person’s vocabulary. Nor does such a person embarrass another and then attempt to escape responsibility by saying, “I was only joking.” Instead, a gracious person seeks to encourage and uplift another.
A gracious person regularly thanks others. This person chooses to express gratitude and never takes anything for granted.
A gracious person does not monopolize the conversation. He or she learns to ask good questions and creates opportunities for others to talk.
A gracious person does not play one-upmanship. Have you ever told a story about something that happened to you only to get this response: “That’s nothing, you should have seen what I did!”
A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, “He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment.” Wow! Don’t underestimate the power of simply paying attention to another.
A gracious person speaks thoughtfully. This person doesn’t say what happens to be passing through the corridor of his mind at the moment. There is nothing particularly redeeming about expressing every fleeting thought that floats through the mind. A gracious person tempers words through the filter of wisdom and love.
A gracious person does not have to be the center of attention. There are people who seem to crave constant attention. These people are so insecure they feel threatened if they are not noticed or acknowledged. There is a humility in realizing you are dispensable.
A gracious person points out the good. Maybe you are visiting a friend who lives in another place. Instead of pointing out the inadequacies of your friend’s community, you are constantly finding things that are good. “This cafe has outstanding peach pie! That was delicious.” “I just love the way you have planted your garden. It is beautiful!” Gracious people look for the good.
Where to begin today:
1. Today, pray that God will create an awareness of the opportunities to express graciousness to others.
2. Think ahead to the people whom you anticipate interacting with. Which one of the above attributes do you especially need to be conscious of when you are with this person?
3. Be intentional about thanking others. Your spouse. Your co-workers. The clerk at 7-11. A vendor. A client. Go above and beyond what you normally do.
What would you add to this list?