How to Cultivate a Heart of Grace and Self-Compassion
What is Grace? Grace is undeserved kindness. And Grace in action is having the ability to:
- extend what you believe is undeserved kindness to someone who has hurt or offended you
- give the benefit of the doubt
- assume positive intent
- view others with unconditional positive regard
- extend forgiveness without limit
- give undeserved respect and kindness
- listen for what others need instead of listening for personal attack
- overlook an offense
- take the high road first
- stay out of judgment, criticism, blame
- seek first to understand the perspectives, opinions, feelings, and experiences of others before seeking to be understood
When we believe we are above reproach, without faults, weaknesses, and failures—we can become judgmental and unforgiving of others. We can throw stones, point fingers and play the blame game. Forfeiting grace means we highlight the flaws and weaknesses of others.
It’s easy to throw stones and pass judgment on others for their shortcomings, mistakes, and failures. It’s easy to ridicule, criticize and condemn others for their sins. It’s easy to vilify those who have hurt or disappointed us in some way. And it’s so much easier to turn away from and/or against those who we think are hypocritical because they aren’t you know, ‘perfect like us.’
It’s easy to sit in a judgment seat of self-righteousness and believe you are better than others. It’s easy to stay in offense and ruminate on all the hurt someone has caused you. And It’s easy to stay in a place of bitterness, rage, and anger for an offense committed. When we have this type of heart posture toward others, we’re operating from a place of judgment, condemnation, and unforgiveness instead of a HEART FULL of grace.
A Grace Mindset
A grace mindset not only promotes your inner healing, mental health and well-being, it also strengthens your relationships. Cultivating a heart of grace contributes to experiencing a life of abundance because when you generously sow unconditional and undeserved kindness to others, you will reap love and kindness in return. You actually get or receive back what you give. What you sow is what you reap.
We all can do better with cultivating more grace toward ourselves because without it, we will find ourselves in a pit of depression, despair and hopelessness as a result of our self-hatred, self-blame, self-criticsm and self-condemnation. This is especially hard to do when others throw stones at us and amplify all of our weaknesses, shortcomings, faults and past failures. But we must remember,
Even when others may condemn you—God’s Grace always covers you.
Extending Grace Towards Others
And when it comes to others, we can all do better in cultivating a heart full of grace toward those who have hurt or harmed us. We must remember everyone is flawed. But when we choose to give others the benefit of the doubt, overlook their offenses, and forgive quickly and freely—-we will discover that same measure of grace being extended back to us.
So—Before we go magnifying and publicizing all the flaws, failures, mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses we see in others, let’s take a look at ourselves first. Mt 7:5 says,
Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?”
Freely Give Grace
Let’s be so busy addressing our own faults and failures that we don’t have time to focus on or point out anyone else’s. And let’s choose to cultivate more grace toward ourselves AND others—by choosing to extend kindness, love, compassion, and forgiveness, even when we think it’s undeserved.
Let’s not freely throw stones at others—let’s freely give grace. Because it is by grace that we all have been saved. And since we have freely received the gift of God’s grace, let’s make the decision to extend it freely to ourselves and others. Because the truth is, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
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