Speech with Grace and a side of Salt!
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
To often, conversations start and end without either of the most important elements for good communication.
Any communication that comprises or is an attempt to influence the another person, or changes the tone, intent, or heart of what has been spoken to reflect ones personal positions, then it is outright manipulation. This isn’t always easily identifiable especially in Christian relationships because the typical motivation behind our dialogue with one another starts out with pure intent but when our own feelings enter the room, everything turns to one’s own purpose and personal advantage very quickly. It is very easy to see things spiral downward from there.
Communication is so important among people of all ages. Misunderstandings can be avoided, and great things can be accomplished when there is open communication. Words can hurt or they can encourage, they can teach or they can tear down, but no matter what they are very powerful. They are also a huge reflection of what is in our heart. As Christians, the Lord has given us some basic guidelines in his word about how and what we should speak and choose our words wisely.
We are told in scripture:
Psalm 19:14 (ESV) “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Matthew 12:37 (ESV) “…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
This verse is a clear warning to all of us about the importance of our words. It is apparent through God’s word that our behavior and actions have consequences in the Kingdom of God, but this verse also makes it obvious that our spoken words also bring ramifications. The verses right before this one make this very clear by saying, “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak (Matthew 12:34-36). With this warning in mind, we should seek to fill our hearts with God’s word, so that we practice good communication and so that we will ultimately be judged as righteous children of God.
I have been doing a litmus test to gauge the level of manipulation that seems to come full circle in the conversations that I have. Many of them were intended for just for the individuals in the room and yet they can still come back around after being manipulated or fashioned with different purpose, perspective, or selfish intent. Other conversations were manipulated because they went through the rumor mill and the essence of the dialogue was lost in translation. Either way, if you have a conversation with someone and It leaves the room for any reason it is reduced to here-say. Period! Keep your conversations personal and private. Resolve and restoration in anyone you speak with come not from your spiritual spin or prowess but through your prayer for others. The rest is just what the Lord does.
In my own observations and litmus test I believe that there can only be one reason for the presence of manipulation in our conversations and it seems that in many cases they lack the power and influence of scripture. Scripture is one of the best tools you have to guard your conversations. It keeps you from perpetually having to recover right standing in relationships and brings productivity to the conversations of those you minister to. You can’t catch everything but the scriptures provide everything that pertains to life and Godliness so you can’t go wrong!
So... let you conversations start with the Word, be filled with Salt, and always finish with The amazing work of Grace.
Food for thought!