The LORD Is Gracious
"They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works." (Psalm 145:7-9)
To be "gracious" is to be the kind of person who gives other people things they do not deserve. A gracious person shows people unmerited favor (kindness that they could never earn on their own). The LORD is the ultimate Example of Someone Who is gracious, Who gives graciously, time and time and time again. Whenever we act with graciousness toward other people, we are not inventing some new thing. We are simply reflecting the character of the eternal God. He has always been gracious, and He always will be gracious.
Have you ever noticed that it is easier to expect people to be gracious to you than it is for you to be gracious to other people? For example, let's imagine that you are going over to your neighbor Tommy's house, and Tommy's mom is offering cookies to you. They are fresh-baked, warm-from-the-oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Of course, you accept her offer, even though you do not necessarily deserve a warm and wonderful cookie. In fact, as you chew it up, you realize that you could never earn a cookie that tastes like that! Tommy's mom sees that you love the cookies, and she graciously packs a bag full of them and sends them home with you. WOW! (You can tell from the look on Tommy's face, though, that he is not too pleased to see so few cookies left over for him!)
Now, imagine that Tommy comes over to play at your house. It just so happens that today your mom has just finished baking some warm and wonderful, gooey chocolate chip cookies, and you are thrilled! You and Tommy are both practically jumping up and down with hope and delight. Suddenly, you stop, you glance over at Tommy, and you realize that he is hoping your mom will be gracious and offer him some cookies. Some of your family's cookies! Why, some guys have all the nerve! And what does your mom do? You watch her, as if in slow motion – reaching for a handful of cookies, placing them in Tommy's greedy little hands, patting the top of his head. You find yourself wanting to scream NO!
That little story is kind of exaggerated. But you get the point: It can be harder for us to be gracious than it is for us to accept graciousness. We want (we expect!) everyone to be understanding with us when we make mistakes, but we are not as quick to be understanding when others make mistakes. We think of nice things that people could do for us, but we do not naturally spend time thinking of nice things we might be able to do for others. We are human, and we are prone to sin. We will never be able to be perfectly gracious in this life. Is it worth trying?
Yes! After all, the LORD is perfectly gracious. He has shown grace to you, time and time and time again. Remembering how much you receive, and remembering how little you deserve, can be a great help in remembering to be gracious to people. Has the LORD shown you kindness that you never could have earned? Does His graciousness make you want to be gracious with other people? If so, then be gracious. You will be reflecting, at least in a small way, the great graciousness of the eternal God. And, because He is gracious, He will help you be gracious!
God shows you grace, and you can reflect that by being gracious with others.
» What kind of "unmerited favor" has God shown me in my life?
» Am I gracious with other people?
» How can I reflect to others some of the graciousness God has shown to me?
Truth In Real Life
George Frederic Handel
“I should be sorry if I only entertained them [hearers]. I wish to make them better.”
Born on February 23, 1685, George Frideric Handel loved music from the earliest part of his life. As a child, he would sit at the church organ and create beautiful music to the surprise and delight of those who heard him.
Handel’s father, believing that music would not provide a worthwhile enough career for him, encouraged him to give up music and become a lawyer. But that isn’t what God had planned for him.
By the time Handel was in his twenties, he was the highest paid composer (music writer) in the entire world. He opened the famous Royal Academy of Music, and people flocked to hear his works performed.
Fame was not to last forever, though. Soon, there were newer and better composers; and people forgot about George Frederic Handel. He no longer had the money or praise of men, and he became very depressed over his life. His hands grew crippled, and no one came to hear him play anymore. He believed he was done.
Once again, God had other plans. He was not finished with Handel yet. One day, Handel received an important manuscript from a man named Charles Jennens. The text was written about Jesus Christ, and most of it was drawn directly out of the Bible.
On August 22, 1741, Handel locked himself in his house with Jennen’s manuscript and began writing music to go with its words. Twenty-three days later, he finished the most famous oratorio (a kind of musical) of all time. Handel’s Messiah is still performed today worldwide, especially around Christmastime. The Messiah includes the famous “Hallelujah Chorus,” for which audiences stand as a tradition to honor the God Whom it is about (“for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth!”).
Once again, Handel became famous, and still is famous today, although the experience humbled him.
God honors those who honor Him. Have you devoted all you have to His honor and glory rather than your own?
1 Corinthians 2:9 – Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.