Paul challenges us in Colossians 4:6 to “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt…”. Much easier said than done. In most of our interactions, our speech delivers a real time reflection of what is going on in our mind that is strongly influenced by emotions. James says the tongue can set on fire the course of our life. Scary! The work place and the challenges raising three children often puts me in the fire. It is in these times that speaking with grace requires discipline and it is in these situations that I far too often fail and regret the words that come out. I have said many things to my boss, my co-workers, and my family that I wish I could reel back in. The shame and consequences from these poor choices continue to drive me back to Christ who heals and supplies abundant grace.
When Paul refers to speaking with grace as though seasoned with salt, what does he mean? Salt preserves. Salt cleans. Salt enhances the flavor. Salt purifies. Speaking with grace does not tear another down, but preserves relationships and builds others up. Speaking with grace softens words and enhances the impact on those we are speaking to. Speaking in grace does not condemn another or put them on the defensive. When those you are speaking to are not trying to defend their position or withhold information, truth is revealed. Paul goes on to say the results of speaking with grace is that we will know how to respond to each person. When truth is revealed and defenses are down we are in a much better position to know how to respond.
How many times have you walked into a situation that you know an offense has occurred? Many times I have arrived following a conflict between children leaving one hurt or crying or learn of a situation at work that appears that one employee bears the fault. Unfortunately for all, I often jump to conclusions early and react in discipline to later learn that I did not know the whole story and may have over reacted or reacted in the wrong way. There are always two sides to every story. Every time, when I speak and react in a spirit of grace and show concern for the individuals where I can learn the whole story, I can bring reconciliation or appropriate discipline that builds up my kids or employees.
How do we do this? Paul answered this in Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth”. When we set our mind on things above and live in the saving grace provided by Christ, our minds will be saturated with this amazing grace and save us from ourselves. So let your speech always be with grace.
p.s. There is so much rich encouragement for believers in Colossians. Take the time to read Colossians and savor the wise instruction that, when followed, will richly bless others and draw others to Christ.