14 April 2013

wanting to be both wise and graceful

You know this, my dearly-loved brethren 
...let every one be quick to hear, 
slow to speak, 
slow to be angry.
Weymouth New Testament
James 1.19

With the arrival of the really, really hot season... lots of power cuts... and Mom and Dad with very busy schedules that precludes lots of afternoons at the pool, the littlers have started rewatching the Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman episodes that we still have hanging around. While they've watched, I've been busy working away in the same room, sorting books, working on IEPs, folding laundry, planning road trips back to Michigan from California...

I've not been watching, but I have been listening.

I've noticed two things:
  1. First, while I still thoroughly enjoy the show, sometimes the dialogue alone, without the visual/video component, is pretty cheesy.
  2. Second? Many of the characters on the show are generally two dimensional, predictably reacting instead of thoughtfully responding, only looking at issues and circumstances from their singular point of view, sure of the correctness of their opinions and the exclusivity that their opinion is the only right way to look at an issue, and very, very, very vindictive - actually taking enjoyment in another's punishment or seeing a sinner live his/her consequences. Characters, for the most part, are entirely unwilling to walk a mile in another's shoes or to even consider considering the world from a different perspective.
And so I'm listening, and I'm thinking, "Ouch!"

You see, I like to think I'm fairly open-minded and slow to act on internal judgments and my tendencies towards critical attitudes... but in reality I'm guilty just like those fictional Colorado Springs inhabitants, a lot more than I'd care to admit. It might be the temptation to leave a snarky comment on a blog... or respond similarly to one left on my blog. What about my immediate response to a situation at work I don't like? Do I assume it was done that way just to irritate me or impede me in my responsibilities? Someone says no to a request and I can't accept that it is because they are genuinely busy, but rather that they don't like me. You publicly disagree with me? Why is it that my first (interior, where thankfully it usually reamains) response is thinking about vindictively and publicly attacking you back? 

I'm good at talking about grace, recognizing God's grace, expecting and even demanding it from other people when I want it offered to me... but  then never REALLY want to go through the work of generously giving grace to others, of assuming best intentions (or at least not evil directed toward me personally),  or of trusting in the possibility that God is doing a mighty work within that other person - even when I don't understand or agree with all of their stands, decisions, actions or words.

Seems to me that wisdom is also a very important component of grace, at least the kind of grace that comes from God, so out of curiosity, I did a search of Bible verses that included those words, wisdom and grace, in this sort of context...

And the child grew, and waxed strong, 
filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 
(Luke 2.40)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom
teaching and admonishing one another 
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with grace 
in your hearts unto God. (Colossians 3.16)
- I've never considered this verse in this context before... Comments? -

For our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience, 
that in holiness and sincerity of God, 
not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God
we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
(2 Corinthians 1.12)

And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
(Luke 2.52)

...In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, 
according to the riches of his grace, 
Which hath super-abounded in us in all wisdom and prudence, 
That he might make known unto us the mystery of his will, 
according to his good pleasure...
(Ephesians 1.7-9)

How do I become wiser and more graceful? 

And very specifically: how do we gently hold ourselves and each other accountable for wise and graceful online interactions and communications?

(The picture in this post is a screen shot from the first season episode entitled Law of the Land.)

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