GRACE AND THE GOLDEN RULE

What comes to your mind when the word “grace” is mentioned? I’m pretty sure your mind goes to the grace of God, (what many call His unmerited favour). But how about grace in human interactions? Yes, it’s a show of favour or goodwill in part, but I have something more specific in mind.

I found these definitions of grace, among others, in my Word Web Dictionary and they are going to be the focus of my discussion here:

“A sense of propriety and consideration of others
A disposition to kindness and compassion”

These definitions I believe spell out grace in clear terms to help us inculcate that virtue. How do we treat other people? Do we treat them with courtesy and decorum? Is there anything less than fitting in the way we talk or react to them? Do we consider their welfare in what we do?

I would have added sensibilities but that has gone haywire in the world today with the political correctness and hatred of God that abound. People get so easily offended that no matter how careful you try to be, some people are bound to claim they are distressed by what you say and do. No Christian who wants to please everyone in this respect will be able to share the gospel or point out modern-day practices that violate the word of God. But we are still expected to preach and correct in love, knowing we are all fallible and in need of God’s mercy always.

We should preach and correct in love, knowing we are all fallible and in need of God's mercy too. Click To Tweet

We should, as the definitions above indicate, show consideration to others if we want to be gracious. This is how the Bible puts it with respect to our speech:

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” – Colossians 4:6 (KJV)

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

Another translation puts the last verse this way:

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“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.” – (NIV)

This reminds me of the three-fold purpose of prophecy as shown in 1 Corinthians 14:3:

“… the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” – 1 Corinthians 14:3 (ESV)

The word of God, and by extension our own words as children of God, are expected to strengthen people, encourage and comfort them. When we speak to people, irrespective of how much higher we are than them in age, status and learning, we shouldn’t disrespect or browbeat them. When we are teaching people, we should not sound condescending or brash. Even when we feel someone is clearly in the wrong, we should not sound dismissive or arrogant.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1 (KJV)

Sometimes, correction administered in private bears more fruit than when the receiver is rebuked in public to shame him or her.

Abrasive behaviour or meanness shows a lack of grace. #quote Click To Tweet

We should not be overly disagreeable or cantankerous. Don’t ridicule people or use whatever they say or do as a ground for starting an argument and then insist on having the last word. We see this often online when people bully others in a discussion thread, instead of stating their views and acknowledging the differences in experience that may form the bases of other people’s opinions. This and other types of abrasive behaviour show a lack of grace.

So in the end, kindness and compassion encompass both the giving of material gifts and how we treat people generally. And a famous principle to live by if we want to be gracious all-round is the Golden Rule:

A famous principle to live by if we want to be gracious all-round is the Golden Rule. #quote Click To Tweet

“… in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

When this becomes our custom, we know we are growing into maturity in Christ and our lives will become models for others to emulate.

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PRAYER:
Pour upon me the Spirit of grace, dear Lord, in Jesus’ name.
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The follow-up to this article is “A Testimony of Grace.” It illustrates the article you’ve just read by sharing my experiences of grace in a particular place.
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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

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71 thoughts on “GRACE AND THE GOLDEN RULE

  1. Hi Edith, I love this post. Grace is so much more than us receiving it from the Lord. It should be in every word or action we speak or make. I love how you have broken it down into its many facets. Great post
    God bless
    Tracy

    • God bless you too Tracy! It’s been on my mind for a while so I felt the Lord would have me address it. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. If half of the people in the universe can live and act by the golden rule, the world would be a much better place to live in. As predominant in our time, people act without weighing the consequences of their actions on others. The hub of this issue is that in all our dealings, let love lead and then grace would portrayed in our lives. Nice article ma, well done!

  3. Great expository on the word GRACE. Brought to mind James 4:6, “But He giveth more grace” (Greek, “greater grace”), the statement taken with the preceding verse and the rhetorical questions, “Or do you suppose that Scripture is speaking to no purpose…? The Holy Spirit enables us through God’s Word to have even more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet evil tendency more fully) by GRACE. Well done sister Edith!

    • Thank you, Mel! We do need more grace. Think I’ll continue to explore the subject of grace in a few more posts. God’s blessings on your family and ministry in Jesus’ name.

  4. “love your neighbor as you love yourself” in the present generation has been used in different occasions and interpreted in different ways, but the truth still remains that we cant really know God outside of His word. well done ma, God bless your ministry.

  5. You are right, aunty. People are fond of bullying others via social media in the name of arguments. Such people tend to believe that their opinion is the ultimate. they also tend to intimidate their colleagues into agreeing with whatever they say. But, like you said, such things aren’t grace. They surely aren’t.

  6. We are created with different tastes. What I perceive as good, maybe bad to you. My opinion may not appeal to you. But does that mean that we should impose our opinions on others or intimidate them to succumb to everything we say? Of course not. We should respect other peoples opinions as much as we respect ours. in what ever position we find ourselves, no matter how high, we should not take ourselves to big to accept the opinions of that person in a lower class… by so doing, I know, you are incurring the grace of God upon you.

  7. I remember when I finished my secondary school, but for one reason or the other, I couldn’t pursue my university education immediately. At that time, I can’t engage in a reasonable argument with my some of my mates who are in different higher institutions. Superiority complex must find its way into every discussion or any arguments. My father told me that that’s the way life is: as you attain higher positions in life, you tend to forget those in the lower position. But, my question remains, “if that’s how life goes, why then did Christ, upon all His righteousness die for the sinners? we believe that the higher you get in life is an opportunity to control others or to impose your opinions on them. But thanks to this post, thanks so much aunty. This post will surely go a long way in modelling lives – especially the lives of the younger generation.

  8. we should learn how to treat other people, we should treat them with respect and we should remember that we need God’s grace to do so

  9. It is God’s richness in grace which provided the plan for deliverance from disobedience, sin and death. Paul gave that truth prominent place in Ephesians for our close consideration. (Eph. 1:5-7)

  10. Explicitly portrayed! Good Aunty. As always, you have done it again for us, young scholars of the faith. That grace only comes divinely from the Almighty is what I had always known.
    And relaxing on the responsibility of giving off Grace in my own capacity has always been my flaw but, with this insightful decryption you made for us, I think I’m on my way to being a better giver and exhibitor of the graces within my limited volition. THANK U MA!!

    • O gini n’ese! Nwayo kwa! Lol! Your English, my dear, i kwadoro akwado. Lol! You are splendidly blessed in Jesus’ name.

  11. I wish I could talk to people about this someday. Many people, even pastors had contributed to the decline in the spiritual lives of their members. some even say that open rebuke is better than secret love and I’m not against that but, I think we should mind the way we correct people even in the open expcially behind the mic.

  12. Absolutely, grace is needed in our relationship with our fellow humans. No matter the situation we must be graceful to all just as God’s grace is sufficient for us.

  13. Grace is an unmerited Favour .We live by God’s grace so why can’t we treat our neighbours with grace in our minds. May God help us.

    • My dear, human beings don’t always work things out so logically. A lot of things we do make no sense at all. May God deliver us in Jesus’ name.

  14. we humans may not fully have the grace in us but Gods grace is soooo unlimited we should really work on that aspect of our life as christains

  15. grace can go a long way in our lives and relationship with others. The part that really caught my attention was that we should through the word of God and our words encourage, strengthen and comfort people. so many people lack things and instead of helping someone who is so discouraged and depressed with encouraging words or correcting someone with love they tend to do the opposite.

    • That is too bad, my dear. In fact, some people are aggressive towards others because of what they are suffering but that doesn’t solve their problems St all. Bless you, Shalom!

  16. Grace of God is like faith. And the grace of God is in both action and words. As children of God we need to show the grace of God through our words and actions. By Word we mean preaching the gospel, saying the right things among others and by action we mean doing the right things and exploring opportunities that is good in the eyes of the Lord.
    So we shouldn’t just receive the grace of God and keep it to ourselves, we should pass this grace he has given us to others so that they can share in it.

  17. Grace is something all of us should continously pray for because I could succeed in this and you can’t or you succeed in this and I can’t is nothing but the work of grace

  18. I enjoyed reading this. I’ve learnt from this. Now I know my words are to be helpful, encouraging, kind. All these and more. Thank you!

  19. Never really considered grace in this aspect, I totally agree with you ma,we need grace if we must leave peacefully with men. God bless you ma

  20. I really like this discussion on GRACE and how that contrasts with brash behavior. I just finished a 3 part series of dealing with RUDENESS, and I plan to go back and insert a link to your blog (this article) into one of those posts in order to share these thoughts with my readers, every-time I re-share the post or someone stumbles upon my post! Nice job sister Edith!!

  21. The grace of God is infinite. The Lord expects us not to play with or jeopardise the grace and any other spiritual gifts we have received from Him. Apostle Paul asked “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound”. God forbid, he answered. In as much as God’s grace is free, we are to be mindful and careful with it.

  22. Being graceful is very vital for Christians because our Lord is coated in grace. Treat others with grace cause that is how we will love to be treated too

  23. I just envisaged what this world would have been like without grace. Though not common, but the little expressed has kept us together. This post reminds me of my aunty that corrects me with so much anger and wears a long face all through the day, sometimes am sacred of her correcting me. If we apply grace in our everyday dealings, no doubt this world would be a peaceful place. This is so touching. well done, ma.

  24. even in the smallest of places we should always try to relate with everyone in the same level. With grace I feel loving ourselves won’t be a problem

  25. how we treat people matters in life, we can’t do this without grace because humans are really difficult deal with.

  26. The way we address people matters a lot.
    The words that proceed from our mouths can go a long way in edifying people around us. Let’s practice speaking good words to people

  27. How we treat people in life matters a lot. Having Grace is important in the life of every Christian. We all should continue to ask God for his grace to live our lives

  28. Throughout the Scriptures, the message of this grace is proclaimed. Our God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7). This grace is distinct to the Christian faith. No other religion emphasizes divine grace the way the Bible does

  29. There is a saying that if you do not love and treat your fellow humans that you see well how then can u claim to love him (God) that you do not see …..in all our dealing we should reflect on God’s unending mercy and grace towards us and reciprocate through our brothers and sisters…..

  30. we should always show whoever comes across us the love of God, because we supposed to learn from Christ example even though the people treated him like nobody. In addition we should use nice and encouraging words to who ever we are dealing because what we do on earth or say we will have to account for it

  31. It is very important to apply Golden Rule in our daily lives.
    We should also understand that the way we treat others shows the kind of person we are.
    May God help us all.

  32. I’ve never looked at grace from this dimension before, that is, the way we actually treat other people. Thinking about it now, it’s terrible that so many of us can’t say we have the grace of treating those around us with a modicum of courtesy and compassion. It’s always easier to be abrasive and belittle the people we talk to. We ask and plead everyday that God gives us his grace but we haven’t stopped to consider that maybe it’s in the little things we do to and for others that show that we are beings full of God’s grace. I pray that our eyes are opened to the infinite possibilities that grace encompasses so that we may live accordingly. Thank you aunty

  33. Wonderful post, Ma. As Christians we should try to emulate Christ in the grace department, after all he blesses us and grants us mercy when we least deserve it. As much as possible, we ought to strive to treat people in the exact same way we would like to be treated. I believe doing this will make life so much more easier. God bless you ma.

  34. “Sometimes, correction administered in private bears more fruit than when the receiver is rebuked in public to shame him or her.”
    You said it all ma, Christianity begins with how we treat our fellow humans not on account of the laws someone kept.
    We are advised to live a humanitarian life, ensure someone is happy because of you and deviate from crime against humanity for the betterment of the society at large.

  35. Exodus 34:6-7 says “our Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and for thousands, forgiving iniquity , transgression and sin” . Therefore we should live like Christ like, we should have sense of propriety and consideration of others, a disposition of kindness and compassion to others. I pray God to give me the grace to apply the grace and the golden rule approach in my deals go with others.

  36. A beautiful write up. There are a lot of lessons to learn here like correcting people without being arrogant,respect others no matter the level, kindness and compassion matters in our lives, do not ridicule anyone, we cannot please everyone but doing good matters all these are act of being gracious which is a golden rule.

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