Paul's Advice: Speak Graciously
"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
Paul states that we should be gracious when we speak to others. This is in order to demonstrate the gratitude we have in our lives toward Christ for loving us first. Our speech directly reflects God's love, and we should bear the burdens that Christ bore for us (Galatians 6:2).
The Flavor of Graciousness
Graciousness in our speech is the salt seasoning that gives our words power. Salt gives flavor to what would otherwise be bland food. In this analogy, the blandness Paul describes is the world–the world speaks in the ways of hubris, pride, and the glorification of the self.
Just look at any ranking or world records. In sports, we have professional athletes and Olympic athletes competing for the top prize and top recognition. In academics, colleges are ranked from top to bottom by subject, and even degrees are ranked. In business, you are ranked by market cap and the health of your balance sheet.
It all comes down to worldly perception.
These things are not inherently bad–but it starts to become a problem when we prioritize the status of our worldly ranking over our love of God.
By speaking graciously, our words dispel the world's concept of perception and redirects what would be self-glorification into humility.
If you speak graciously to someone of the world, they are bound to take notice.
No matter who it is–whether friend or foe–we should answer each person with graciousness.
How To Speak Graciously?
Speech is how we communicate to our fellow brothers and sisters in-person. It's different from writing in that it has to be performed live. Unless you're giving a speech, dialog on a daily basis is usually on-the-go and unscripted.
While it's possible to rehearse everything we say, it's not practical. Most of us are not speech writers nor veteran speakers. Not to mention that we don't have the time to script every word that we say.
Instead, it's better to prepare the heart. We should direct our heart posture towards an attitude of humility by recognizing the powerful truth that God gave us everything. Treat everything we own as not our own, but as things that God gave us to enjoy and steward over.
Naturally, as we become more humble, our speech will become more gracious.
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