Words are important. They can either build or destroy. The letter of James certainly reveals the power of the tongue and how quickly it can wreak havoc (James 3:6-10).
Therefore, we need to strive to form positive habits of mind and heart–that is, to intentionally pause to reflect upon the day and recognize the high and low points. The virtue of gratitude is the linchpin of forming a grateful disposition, as it joins together our reason and will–our mind and heart. Our reason enables us to recognize an act of kindness extended toward us, and our will allows us to say, “Thank you.” These actions will always bring people together in the community. Let me share an example.
Recently I had an early morning flight and searched the airport for the one coffee shop. As southern hospitality is generally manifested, the affable gentleman in front of me started a conversation. When he stepped up to place his order, he turned to me and asked me what I wanted. Immediately, I was grateful for his gesture, and those around us smiled. We had an extra-long wait for the drinks and continued our conversation. As we departed, he left with the satisfaction of doing an act of kindness and generosity, and I went away with a grateful mind and heart. His gesture remained with me throughout the day. And the words exchanged in those brief moments built a positive sense of unity.
May each of us strive to find opportunities to express gratitude and to extend acts of generosity to others.