I don’t think anyone has ever been amazed at my gracious words. Maybe once or twice people have called me naive for thinking the best of someone or marvelled that I would give so-and-so the benefit of the doubt. But I honestly don’t think I am amazing anyone with my gracious words.
Yet this is one of the first things we learn about Jesus’ life and ministry in Luke 4:22
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips
A couple of things that I felt nudging at me in my devotional time with this passage:
- For some reason I find it more difficult to speak graciously to – and about – Christians. More difficult to be gracious towards the Church than I do those in everyday life. I think this is in part because (I like to tell myself) I hold them to a “higher standard” than the world. I expect more of them. And so when I speak in relation to them I am more critical. This is not good. By definition, these people have admitted that they are not good enough, that they need grace. And so I must be quick and ready to extend gracious words to the church. Not to mention that, in the passage, when Jesus was speaking these ‘gracious words’ he was speaking in the synagogue.
- Secondly, the lack of grace within my speech, is largely due to pride. I am not gracious because I don’t think I need grace myself. But here again I am gravely mistaken. One of the dangerous things about entering your mid twenties with a loving wife, a “stable job”, great daily, weekly and monthly habits and disciplines. Is that you begin to think you are playing the game of life well. It is dangerous, because truth be told, I don’t deserve any of it! My sin is so great, I am dependent on God’s grace to breath my next breath, let alone earn a living. The nerve of me to think that I could not extend amazingly grace-filled speech towards everyone is audaciously arrogant.
- Finally, as I write this, I am struck once more by the grace of Jesus. Who loves me and forgives me and even honours me, despite my woeful pride and judgemental attitude. You could say, I find myself ‘amazed at His gracious words’. Longing to be more like Him and trusting in His amazing grace to make me more gracious towards my neighbours.