Those who love us do what is best for us, saying hard words and calling us out.
And yet, these loving words travel best when escorted by grace and kindness.
Loving someone means I confront, call out, and name what I see in their life. To stand by and let things go without a word is not love but something else. So, if I am to love someone, I must speak the hard words.
And yet, these hard but loving words cannot be heard if said without grace and kindness. Many are the words unreceived or misunderstood because of the harsh and graceless manner in which they are spoken. Love misses its mark, is not received, simply because its words lack grace and kindness.
For words of instruction, correction, or truth spoken to our children, spouses, or friends in love and concern to actually land in their hearing, we must be aware that the route to their ear goes through their heart. Grace and kindness are escorts that walk alongside our words to ensure that they are actually received as true gifts of love.
As big news stories grind endlessly on, common, small people perform unusual and courageous acts of love and grace. The news cycle continually draws our attention to the big events, such as the vice president debate, the awarding of the Nobel prizes, the post-season baseball playoffs, and litigation between Apple and Samsung, while right before our eyes men and women offer grace, love in unusual and courageous ways, and live faithfully and sacrificially toward others. Because we are taught to admire and even desire large, celebrated, noticed lives, we consume and vicariously live through the news of politicians, athletes and celebrities. And yet, true significance and meaning are played out unnoticed in obscure corners of our cities, classrooms down the hall, at breakfast tables, and in quiet, courageous words. Elections, technological developments, international disputes, and even baseball are important, but let us not miss what might be the most significant, immediate, and really real news close at hand. Let us not miss the people who challenge us to live toward love, faithfulness, and grace.