In closing his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul highlighted some essentials of the Christian life—devotion to prayer, an attitude of gratefulness, and wise dealings with unbelievers. Reminding us to make the most of opportunities to share our testimony, Paul said, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).
The apostle knew the tongue’s power for good and encouraged using words to influence others for Jesus. James took the opposite approach, describing the harm tongues can do. He likened them to sparks that set a forest on fire or a restless evil that can poison (James 3:5; James 3:8). Sadly, we see this truth lived out in the media, workplace, families, and even churches.
Consider how we respond when we hear about a stranger who has ruined his personal life, carried out ruthless business practices, or brought public condemnation on himself. Our first response is often criticism and judgment instead of compassion or sorrow.
But we can learn from Jesus’ example. He asked the Samaritan woman simple questions so she’d recognize her need for living water (John 4:7-26); He invited Himself to the house of the hated tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) and He stood between the adulterous woman and her critics before gently bringing correction (John 8:1-11). Jesus’ words were seasoned with grace.
As representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to speak graciously. Let’s make it our habit to use a kind tone of voice, courteous approach, humble spirit, and edifying words.