Hear these words from an experienced veteran soldier of the cross of Jesus and an inspired preacher of the gospel: “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:5-6). The apostle Paul commands us to be wise so that we can make the most of every opportunity; so that we might know how to speak to people.
Let your speech be always with grace. None of us deserve it but that is what we all need. Remember, sinners are lost and condemned. They are without God and hope in this world. The last thing they need is for someone to come along and verbally beat them up. We haven’t been sent to attack others but to help them to come to know the truth of the gospel. It is good news!
Add a little salt. Salt flavors your food so that it is more appealing. If we want others to listen to us, we need to avoid words that may be offensive, distasteful, disrespectful, rude, arrogant, condescending, condemning and judgmental. We must use gracious words that show others we truly care about them and that we want the very best for them; that we are not out to get them!
Whenever you sense that you are pushing someone away or putting up a wall between you and them – back off! When you do so, they will be more apt to move towards you and to listen to what you have to say. Once you have won their ear you can tell them what they need to hear, and they will hear it. If they are not listening, you are wasting your breath and may shut the door into their heart for good.
Words of kindness, encouragement, patience, understanding, forgiveness and love can help open the heart of others and gain a soul for Christ. This is our goal; not to win an argument or to tell them off, but to win their souls for Christ!
So many times, we fail to let wisdom dictate our speech and we do more harm than good. Don’t let that discourage you but learn from it. Remember, wisdom comes from experience. If you don’t ever try you will never improve. By the way, when is the last time you spoke to someone about Christ? Let’s all do it today and everyday because the time is short, and the need is of eternal consequence.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135