Jump Start # 2763
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
We are living in a culture of anger and foul language. It’s everywhere. Politicians let words fly that should never be spoken. Athletes drop curse words in interviews. Top to bottom, it seems that are times have accepted offensive language as being normal and acceptable.
On our congregation’s website, we post a quote each day. We call it, “Quick Quotes.” I gather those quotes to be posted. I found one the other day that brings us to our verse. It said, “What ought not to be heard by little ears, should not be spoken by big mouths.” Well said!
Our verse adds several important factors that we need to consider:
First, Our speech must be with grace. Always. Every time. No exception. This includes when you are mad. This includes when you are frustrated. This includes when you are bothered, irritated and upset. This includes at home. This includes at work. This includes on social media. Our speech must be gracious. We must not follow the descending trend of our culture. Our words reflect our attitudes. Our words connect to our faith. Our words must be kind, when others are impatient, rude and ready to bite your head off. Our words must encourage, when others are ready to destroy you with their words. Our words must heal, even though the words of others wound and hurt. Always with grace.
Second, one can apologize for what was said, but what was said will be remembered. Sometimes it will be remembered for a long, long time. Getting it right the first time, with the right words, is important. In Nehemiah two, the Persian king asked Nehemiah what he wanted. Before he spoke, Nehemiah prayed to God. Boy, that would help so many of us. Pray before you speak. Pray before you put your foot in your mouth. Pray before you offend. Pray first. Talk later.
Third, Paul uses the illustration of salt as seasoning. In our times we must be careful with salt, but it is still a vital seasoning. Corn on the cob just doesn’t taste right without some salt. Gotta have some salt in those mashed potatoes. We remember the Lord’s use of the word salt. You are the salt of the earth, Jesus said. One doesn’t see the salt in the food, but you certainly know when it’s missing. Such is seasoned speech. We may not be able to define it thoroughly, but we recognize when it’s missing. Seasoned speech would cool down an argument. Seasoned speech would allow the other person to finish without interrupting and debating. Seasoned speech is not tolerating wrong, avoiding a discussion, running from an argument. Not at all. Seasoned speech sets the tone and the direction for those very things. Raising the volume in a discussion doesn’t prove one’s point. It simply means he has a loud voice. Thunder doesn’t kill anyone. It’s the lightning that does.
Fourth, gracious speech is how we speak to every person. Some people are hard to talk to. Some want to dominate the conversation and do all the talking. Others, never say a word. When you talk to them, it’s like having a conversation with yourself, because they don’t add anything to it. Some can’t speak without always pointing out the negatives and the problems. That’s all they see and that’s all they talk about. Some talk too much about other people. Some complain. Some talk softly. Some are loud. Some can ride in a car with others and be content to just enjoy the ride without talking. Others perceive silence to mean that something is wrong.
Gracious speech fits all of those situations. It works. It teaches us how to respond to every person. Speak as we would like the other person to speak to us. Speak kindly. Speak after you have thought things out. Speak after you have prayed.
And, one of the things that will come out of this is that people will notice. They notice that you don’t talk like others do. You don’t use those filthy words like others do. You don’t talk about others, like everyone else does. You become a breath of fresh air. Some will even tone down their words when around you. Some will apologize when they let one of those bad words slide off their tongue. Seasoned speech is rare. The speech of grace is rarely heard. And, without realizing it, you are showing people a characteristic of Christianity—more than seasoned speech, a life that is under control. You show them that you don’t have to be mean, angry or offensive to stand your ground.
Your speech always with grace. Not easy to do, but it can be done. It will make a difference.