“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.”
– Colossians 4:5-6 NLT
Living wisely, effectively and with a Kingdom influence is one of our great opportunities. This is a defining moment. Wise living becomes the track on which our testimony runs. It’s exercising God’s principles into our daily processes. It leads others to a divine destination. Paul is one of the many Biblical authors who remind us that our speech and conversation can derail our opportunity to have Kingdom influence.
I’m guilty of it. Sarcasm. Harsh words. Cutting remarks. Unkind responses. Demeaning comments. Derogatory slurs. Backhanded shots. Double-meaning gab.
These choices of words don’t build up, they tear down. These verbal cosmetics make us look better while making others look worse. This kind of words is not kind.
Words that are gracious and attractive provide us the greatest opportunity for Kingdom impact.
Words That Are Appropriate. Paul cautions the Christ-followers in Ephesus, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph4:29 ESV). The right words for the right situation are redemptive and restoring. Sometimes our words need to be firm and forceful, yet still fair. Solomon gives wise instruction, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov 15:1 NIV)
Words That Are Appealing. Gracious conversation is complimented with grace. Matthew Henry writes, “Though it be not always of grace, it must always be with grace.” Our words are benefiting, not burdensome. Solomon reminds us, “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov 16:23-24 NIV). Encouraging words embrace the soul.
Words That Are Attractive. Peter writes, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Pet 3:15 NIV). Our conversation compliments our convictions. Solomon tells us that our healing and helping words give hope. He writes, “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov 15:4 NIV)
Poets know the power of words. Songwriters understand their significance. Authors influence imagination with their imagery. Words have power . . . to heal or to hurt . . . to develop or destroy . . . to release or restrain.
Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Make the most of every opportunity . . . speak encouraging words that will influence, inspire and impact . . . and, the echoes of your words will be truly endless.