Do you ever have trouble controlling your tongue? Or is that just me? I want to be honest, and I want to be helpful, but sometimes the way I say things just comes out hurtful. Because I really need some help in this area, I was really thrilled to get the opportunity to review Graciousness: Tempering Truth with Love.
In graciousness, John Crotts is addressing Christians who are zealous for God’s truth, but who struggle to communicate is in a loving way. Crotts gives us a biblical description of graciousness, examples and commands from the Bible and methods for cultivating graciousness in our hearts and in our lives.
One of the first questions Crotts tackles is, “Why do we need graciousness?” According to Crotts, “people with great zeal to take in and understand God’s truth who do not then work out that truth out in their character and within loving relationships will develop a stagnation of spiritually toxic pride and ultimately spiritual death.”
Crotts also examines the Ephesian church at length, and concludes, “Jesus is saying it would be better to have no church in the massive, thriving city of Ephesus than to have an unloving church, even if it preaches the truth and opposes people who oppose the truth.”
I’ve been in churches like that before, and I couldn’t agree more. You can feel that something is wrong and it is a turn-off to both Christians and non-Christians. Jesus tells us quite plainly in John 13:35, when he says, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. I want to be known by my love. I want to be theologically correct, but that’s not what I want people to know me for. I want them to know me as someone who loves my brothers and sisters in Christ.
The theory and Biblical examinations in the first part of the book are excellently done and interesting. However, the meat of the book is truly in the application that Crotts has for us. He takes four chapters to examine how to cultivate graciousness in your heart, in your mind, in your actions, and in your community.
In these chapters, he is full of both practical and biblical advice for seeing graciousness in your own life. I think so many of these are good tips, but as he says, the big thing to remember that your graciousness (or lack thereof) is an outpouring of what is in your heart. You must see your own sin before you can repent of it, and I think if you read this book, you might be surprised by the about of sin that you find in your own heart. I know I was, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to repent and to grow in my process of sanctification through such an excellent book.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, but I did so because I really love this book!