Crotts, John. Graciousness: Tempering the Truth With Love; Reformation Heritage Books, 2018. 152 pages.
Graciousness is out of style these days. Social media, politicians’ rhetoric, and talk show hosts agree: severe, stinging smackdowns are the indicator of correctness. Such tones are hard to hear, and do not convince the opposing side to warm to the ideas so harshly conveyed. However, such harshness is not only produced by the world out there, but also by fellow Christians and even ourselves. We are capable of snapping at our children or spouse, getting into heated debates with other believers, and sending cutting remarks on social media. How do we cultivate graciousness in our speech? How can we stand firm for the truth while at the same time be gentle? John Crotts, in his book Graciousness: Tempering the Truth With Love ,answers these questions.
Through the easily readable ten chapters, Crotts defines what graciousness is, looks at Biblical examples of graciousness, and offers practical applications for increasing in graciousness. The example of Jesus is pondered, as well as the example of Paul. He also contrasts such with examples of harshness, giving the reader concrete examples to aid them in thinking through the topic. Application to one’s own life is the goal, helping the reader to recognize harshness, repent of it, and replace it with graciousness.
I would not hesitate to give this book to a new Christian. Crotts takes the time to explain Bible passages that might not be familiar to those not well-versed in the Scriptures. The short chapters and simple text are ideal for those used to reading modern how-to books. One criticism I have is that the text is almost too simplified at times, making some sections seem choppy. The chapter dealing with Paul was especially short, and it would have been nice to see his contrasts between harshness and graciousness expanded more deeply. However, the goal of encouraging the reader to examine his own attitudes and to desire to grow in graciousness is accomplished succinctly and successfully.
This is an important book for Christians who interact with others. (So, basically, everyone that claims the title Christian!) Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, and as Christians we ought to be striving to cultivate such fruit. John Crotts has delivered a practical, helpful book to aid in such cultivation.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for this review.