Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some might wonder why I have decided to begin my posts with the phrase above. I thought that I would take a moment, here early on, and answer that question.
To Avoid Polemic Debating
The primary reason I have begun using the phrase is to remind myself to remain cordial and charitable as I write. Today, discussing Christian theology can quickly become polemic. There is a growing portion of people who not only reject any notion of God but who are actually quite hostile towards him and those who believe in him. The phrase encourages me to be gentle. It reminds me that God has given me grace and peace and that I should, in turn, extend grace and peace to those who do not believe.
Sadly, discussion about Christian theology can even become polemic between those who identify as Christian also. This breaks my heart. I know from scripture that this is not what Jesus desires for his people. Using the phrase reminds me to love my brothers and sisters. As such, the words that I choose should be loving and kind. And as with those who do not believe, I ought to be gracious and peaceful to fellow believers with whom I disagree.
To Be More Like Christ
Another reason I chose this phrase was because Paul used it, or something similar to it, in several of his letters. I desire to have a life that conforms to Jesus Christ and the other biblical examples God has provided. God knows that I am far from that goal, but thankfully, he is moving me closer to it each day. Using Paul’s phrase reminds me to think and live like he did. I want to become a person who shines the light of God into this world.
In his first letter to Corinth, Paul urges the believers there to imitate him (1 Cor. 4:6). What a powerful statement! It is not a statement I am yet comfortable saying. Perhaps one day I will be able to say such a thing in full confidence. God has transformed me in so many ways, for which I am eternally gratefully. However, I know that there is much more work for him to do my life still. The simply phrase keeps me focused on where I want to be in Christ.
Though the phrase reminds me to avoid being harsh, I know that I will undoubtedly write something that will offend someone or make them upset. That is not ever my goal. I don’t desire to be contentious–quite the opposite actually. However, when I write, I will strive to express truth as I understand it while being as gentle and loving as I possibly can be. When people get angry about something I write, I want it not to be about how I wrote it.
I pray that anyone who reads this post will join me in trying to be more cordial and charitable with others.
May the Lord give both you and I the words we need to speak truth in love.