Audrey Hepburn rented a house in Libby, Montana, during the filming of the movie "Always." Friends of mine who lived there told how a neighbor brought her a large bowl of huckleberries one day. The next day, Hepburn came to their door with a pie made from the berries. They all enjoyed it together.
It's nice to hear about famous people doing down-to-earth things. And this true story made me grateful that we are all capable of expressing generosity and love. I'm realizing the importance of putting acts of love and grace into daily life.
Every good act and deed is actually the result of hearing and heeding God.
There are times when this is natural and easy. For example, one day the temperatures where I live were uncharacteristically high - over 100 degrees. I decided to bring cold drinks to a road crew working in the area. I wanted to show appreciation for what they were doing. They were quite pleased by this gesture, a simple, natural expression of grace.
On the other hand, sometimes graciousness is anything but easy. There was a time when my mother-in-law and I were really having problems getting along. And that tested me. She had hurt me deeply, and for several months I could not let go of the hurt. I would find myself mentally arguing my point of view. This was not a productive way to handle things.
I began to turn to God in prayer. I knew that I had the ability to be loving and graceful because God had made me and all of His children this way. I felt this was the truth. I reasoned that anger, bitterness, self-justification, and hurt could not interfere with my freedom to express God. Otherwise, God would not be supreme.
During the months, as I prayed, I would sometimes feel free of the anger, only to have it return when my mother-in-law would do or say something inappropriate or insensitive. Then finally, through persistent prayer, I became humble enough to get the answer God had had for me all along: that while I had been spending a lot of time and effort thinking I was responsible for correcting my mother-in-law, what I really needed was to improve my own thinking.
Was it my place to force someone else to be more loving or thoughtful? No. But I had learned that I did need to make my expression of patience and unconditional love a priority. It is so easy to think of the other person as needing to change. But if I needed to forgive - well, forgiving takes grace, and that was up to me.
This rift was mended, and we were able to talk out the hurtful situation. I am grateful to have learned in the process to end my self-justification and self-centeredness by listening to God.
"Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods," says the textbook of Christian Science ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 67).
Pride, fear, anger, self-love, cannot win out over divine Truth and Love. When we go to God, willing to hear Him, none of these traits can block our growth in grace.
In the words of Jesus Christ, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). This instruction, followed, will bless not only others but us as well. This is really a great way to bring a healing influence to the world we live in.
It's a part of who we are to be gracious and loving. It's how God made us.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgivingone another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12