People who have learned to be gracious are very hard to offend and are often very slow to anger. To be gracious is the ability to allow someone else to go before you. But it is more than that. It is the inclination to hear a petition and grievance of another.
When people are focused only on themselves, it matters not what grievance or injury someone else may have. As long as it doesn’t affect them, they could care less.
If you can’t be gracious to those around you, you probably have anger issues. You are most likely too sensitive to what others say and you don’t deal with other people’s problems well.
Gracious people are willing to give other people the benefit of the doubt. They aren’t out for blood. They simply believe in allowing people the right to save face. Graciousness doesn’t seek to embarrass, trap, or humiliate someone. And these people are often very slow to anger.
Compassion is the ability to feel for someone. It implies an emotional attachment for the other person’s injury, difficulty, problem, or situation. People who are compassionate rarely get angry. Oh, they can, but it takes much more to get a compassionate person angry than it does someone who can’t make that emotional attachment.
When compassion comes before anger, you have the unique ability not to get offended at what other people do to you. Your ability to relate to their side of the issue, their side of the problem, or their concept of the problem allows you to be more objective, personable, and sympathetic.
Compassion is where you can actually make a difference in someone’s life. Compassion doesn’t look to see who is at fault, compassionate people look to heal, help, and find solutions.
If you can do this, you’ll be too busy to bother with anger.
KINDNESS OR MERCY
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where action backs up your graciousness and compassion. If you have the first two qualities, this will come naturally. You’ll want to help. You’ll demonstrate mercy, kindness, and love.
People who can show mercy to those who have injured them, hurt them, or taken advantage of them are very slow to anger.
Recently, someone busted into my truck, broke a window, tore up the dashboard, stole the stereo, and, since I’m a Christian and a pastor, stole all my preaching CDs and a Bible. The irony of that has not escaped me. When my neighbor came over and told me about it, he expected me to get angry. But I responded in a way that surprised him. When one of my children inquired about it, I explained that desperate people do desperate things. We knelt and prayed for the thieves. Not that God would strike them dead with a lightning bolt, but that they would find the help they needed.
My children learned that exhibiting kindness and mercy inhibits anger.
People that are slow to anger usually possess these three qualities.
It is remarkable to me that God shares these same qualities.
Joel 2:13 – And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Psalms 145:8 – The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
And thank God that He does!
To learn more, or to get the Author’s book, Fitly Spoken, a book on developing communication and social skills for relationships, visit: www.fitlyspoken.org