”Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Col 4:5-6 NLT)
I’ve known people who were bubbly and engaged and who would always speak with grace, but I wasn’t one of them. How many times have I spoken and then afterwards shuddered and thought to myself, Did that really come out of my mouth?
Yet God wants us to be prudent and to use every opportunity to speak graciously for 5 reasons:
1. God wants us to become like Him and this is who and what He declares He is like: “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7 NLT)
2. Our winsome words promote the gospel. Those words become memorable seeds planted in an unbeliever’s heart. When our conversations are full of thankfulness rather than complaints and negativity, we demonstrate the joy and healing that is available to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus.
3. Soft and gentle answers turn away wrath: they deflect anger whereas harsh words make tempers flare. (adapted from Prov. 15:1 NLT)
4. Our gracious speech develops respectful relationships. By expressing tolerance rather than judgment, appreciation rather than complaining, thankfulness rather than grumbling, joyfulness rather than doom and gloom, we demonstrate the grace that God extended to us in Jesus. In understanding the shortfalls of others, we will replace judgment and bitterness with the godly virtues of kindness, patience, compassion and forgiveness. Our conversations demonstrate the healing that is available to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus.
5. Speaking positively and appreciatively actually makes you happier.