“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man (Col. 4:6)
We are to be gracious, which means kind, benevolent and courteous. Do you remember Emily Post, the primary authority on good manners and hospitality of yesteryears? Emily had written down extensive rules and practices – social norms – which served as a base for one’s knowing how to treat others, and what could be expected of them in social situations. In other words, people knew what to do – how to be really polite and respectful. The standard was there and described for them.
But, alas! Nobody teaches Emily anymore. Although good manners and graciousness certainly have not disappeared, they have slipped a lot in our culture, and among church-going Christians, too. Neighbors often don’t bother with each other anymore, and are liable to actually “shrink back” if a person makes any suggestion of getting together with them socially in any way. Grown family members may not bother to make contact with other family for years on end. People going to church can be totally ignored, except at the “turn around and greet your neighbor” time. At any social gathering, everyone should have someone to visit with, not just have to sit there isolated. Do people remember to sincerely thank hostesses for their efforts? Do we thank people who work for us in some way, and compliment them for work well done? Do we thank family members we live with for what they do, or merely take them for granted? How about friends? Do we show them “southern hospitality,” and see to their every comfort possible? Are we interesting to be with, or are we too “into” ourselves to even know anymore how to chat? Are we pleasant to be with, or do we have bad habits we exhibit which really are annoying to others and “turn them off” or hurt them? Do we pay attention to others’ interests and respond accordingly, or do we just want to talk about ourselves? Maybe we don’t want to bother talking at all!
The same graciousness and good manners applies to our relationships with animals. We should be alert to their efforts to communicate their needs and wants to us. We should be careful with their bodies and not just shove them around. We should honor their need for companionship as pets and not ignore them. The list could go on and on. We like to be comfortable, don’t we? So do they.
Folks, this area of graciousness and good manners is extremely important for connecting with others and loving others as Jesus did. It is not a frill, or minor concern. How we treat others, including precious animals, affects them deeply, for better or worse. We need to expand our consciousness in this area, and practice, practice, practice!! If we make a “boo-boo,” we should make up for it as soon as possible. ----And so, in my trying to treat you with graciousness, I wish all God’s blessings for you. Know that every smile, every warm eye contact, every pleasant, uplifting conversation makes a difference to someone and resounds throughout eternity.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Joyce The Caring Heart Copyright 2012 .