When Giving Grace Feels Hard
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 (NIV)
Sometimes God’s Word can feel like an impossible order, don’t you think? Take today’s passage for example: Paul tells us we are to let our words be gracious. I love that the NIV actually reads “full of grace.” Full of it. As in, the bulk of our words should be made up of grace toward the person with whom we are conversing.
Not partial grace. Not halfway grace. All the way grace.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this, but it’s hard.
It’s hard when one of the precious people living in your house gets on your last good nerve. It’s hard when a trusted friend deeply wounds you. And it’s incredibly hard when people share their thoughts and opinions so freely and carelessly on social media. Offering thoughts and opinions that can leave you feeling frustrated, angry or even personally attacked.
I don’t know about you, but words laced with grace aren’t typically the first ones that come to mind when someone’s hurtful words have landed like daggers in my heart. I want to defend myself. And point out how they’re misunderstanding my intentions.
But just because speaking with grace is hard, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And Paul’s words to the Colossians remind us that our words matter.
Paul specifically wants us to consider our words in light of unbelievers, telling us in Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
And look at how Jesus models grace and truth in John 1:14, which says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (NIV). Every instance in the New Testament where we see grace and truth together is always connected to Jesus.
We are to be people of truth with grace-filled words. People who choose healing and helpful words. Because whether we realize it or not, believers and unbelievers alike are listening intently to the words we speak. They’re reading the words we type. And our words testify to the kind of relationship we have with Jesus and the kind of effect He has on our hearts.
So where is the hope in the midst of words that make our pulse race and our face flush? How do we keep our words full of grace?
We remember that Jesus doesn’t offer us partial grace. He doesn’t offer us halfway grace. Jesus gave, and continues to give, all-the-way grace. Grace that took Him all the way to the cross.
Oh, how we need to let this truth interrupt us and redirect us. The divine grace we receive from Christ should fuel our gracious natures and fill our conversations. Because we are people who desperately need grace, we should be people who lavishly give grace.
And not only are we to be gracious in our speech, Paul also tells us our words should be “seasoned with salt.” In rabbinic tradition, this phrase would have been associated with wisdom. In Greco-Roman literature, it meant to be “winsome or witty” in speech. Paul was reminding the Colossians they were called to be people filled with godly wisdom. To be able to respond to objections to the gospel in a manner that was winsome. He wanted their words, and ours, to attract people to Christ, not repel them.
I don’t know who puts grace to the test in your life, sweet friend. But I do know the Holy Spirit is willing to help us choose grace-filled words, if only we will pause long enough for Him to replace the first ones that may pop into our brains.
We can also go ahead and pre-decide that today, because of the lavish grace of Jesus, we will choose the way of grace. With His help, we can speak with honor in the midst of being dishonored. We can speak with peace in the midst of being threatened. We can speak of good things in the midst of bad situations.
We can choose words that won’t leave the bitter taste of regret in our mouths. Words seasoned with the salt of wisdom and full of the grace of Jesus.
Father God, thank You for Your Son, Jesus. He could have held back His grace. But instead, He chose to pour out every single drop for me at Calvary. May Your grace be what pours out of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ecclesiastes 10:12, “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.” (NIV)
Learn how to respond with honesty and kindness in the face of offense when you purchase Lysa TerKeurst's book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, here.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When do you struggle the most to use grace-filled words? Share how the Lord has been helping you extend grace when you join in the conversation here.
© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
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