I receive all kinds of devotionals and Scripture-related items in my inbox each day. I need those kinds of pricks and prods to keep my heart focused. Today, in my devotional from Chuck Swindoll, I found this:
Esther exhibited a grace-filled charm and elegance. In Esther 2:9, the literal translation of the original language says, “She lifted up grace before his face.” Isn’t that a beautiful expression?*
As I read this translation, my first thought was exactly, "Isn't that beautiful..." And then Dr. Chuck said exactly that! It made me smile. And then I got to thinking.
You know, grace isn't something with which I was born. I'm not graceful physically--You have never seen so many bruises on a person before due to simple clumsiness! I'm not graceful in speech--Don't believe me? Remember this? I don't naturally extend grace to others; my reflex (and fleshly) reactions are ones of judgment and standard-holding. This is who I was born as...but it is not who I long to be.
I long to be a woman of grace: speaking grace into others' lives; extending to those around me even a smidgen of the grace God has bestowed on me; moving with poise and grace. Many prayers have gone heavenward regarding my graceless heart and tongue. And every once in a while, God's Spirit peeks through my gracelessness and shines forth His grace. Yet I long for more.
Long ago, I memorized this verse: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV) The NIV translates this as, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And so very often, I have found myself praying for this, that the fruit of my mouth might benefit those who listen.
So if you find me graceless, please know that I'm working on it. For more than anything I want to lift up grace before the face of my Savior. And when I do, I promise it will bring grace to you too.
Still in development,
*Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “Strength and Dignity,” in Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1995), 195. Copyright © 1995 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.