Leslie Ludy WRITES:
Lottie Moon was a missionary to China several generations ago, and I remember reading a description of her that fascinated me:
“A pretty woman, with lovely soft features, kind eyes and dark hair, she was never angry, never impatient, never resentful, she patiently wore away prejudices and hatred by her gentle, gracious presence and her blameless life. She had all the firmness of a man, and yet a more gentle and womanly woman it would be hard to find.”
Lottie Moon was strong and firm against the rigors of missionary life, and yet her demeanor and bearing encapsulated the feminine graciousness that God intends us, as women, to have. Her lifestyle reflected a soul that had been made right with God. Her decision to choose a life of trust and humility before Him, influenced the way she acted, the words she spoke, and even how she was perceived by others.
So just what can we learn from her example? Scripture tells us that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45). This principle highlights that the heart-attitude we are cultivating internally manifests itself externally in the conversations we engage in and how we carry ourselves.
While it’s easy to imagine a “gracious woman” as a silent, mousy figure, we must remember that graciousness has everything to do with the state of our souls. It is entirely possible to have a strong impact on the world, and even have a strong personality, and still be gracious. If we are harboring bitterness, resentment, or allowing frustration to take root in our soul – this will eventually be demonstrated in and through our lives. However, if we refuse to allow those things to take root in our soul by God’s grace, then a gracious spirit will naturally flow from our lives and bless those around us.
Here’s a practical way to put this principle into action. When people in your life do something wrong or insensitive, do you quickly and graciously respond to their mistake, or do you hold a grudge and give them a “cold shoulder” to let them know they have offended you? What about when someone apologizes to you? Sometimes it’s easy to give a verbal acceptance of an apology to someone, but withhold emotional acceptance of their apology. In my own pursuit and study of graciousness, I’ve come to learn that I need to be quick to accept apologies, and also to be quick to allow true forgiveness to be expressed in the way I am treating the other person, by God’s grace.
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