Colossians 4:6 (KJV) 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Gracious speech and appropriate response go together. Pleasant words, especially in giving a response don’t always equate to flattery. It doesn’t always mean pleasing people and displeasing God. This is something we value as God’s people.
We don’t find the need to heartlessly and proudly cut people down. We don’t intend to shine our lights more brightly by extinguishing others. We don’t find a need for that. Our promotion comes from the Lord. We have much grace to spare. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our hearts are filled with God. It’s natural for our words to be godly, pleasant, and pure.
Our words draw people in—that’s way much more attractive than words that offends and push people away. Pushing others away is one of the last things we want to do. We understand that there are people who won’t be pleased with anything we say no matter what we say and how we say them. We’re not bound by their reactions; we’re not in control of that. However they respond, we choose to always speak truthfully, in love, as wise as those given the mind of Christ, as gentle as doves, as bold as a lion. We can’t control them and we don’t intend to; we love them and honor their freedom more than they know. They also can’t control us; we don’t let them; we love and honor Him most. And we thank Him for the opportunity of demonstrating our love for Him and others through our speech.
Colossians 3:12 (KJV) 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering
We’re different—unique in so many ways. We’re part of God’s elect; not everyone’s a part. We’re holy—made holy that is; not everyone is. Being made different; we’re also called to be different—in our thoughts, character, and in our actions.
We’ve received abundant mercy; we are merciful—compassionate; freely we have received, we freely give. People speak of love very easily; it’s sad that they also treat it very casually. There’s a lot of lip-service, but not a lot of reality. We’re kind; we need kindness more than ever. Others say we live in a cruel world; rudeness seems to be the trend. It’s easy to understand why there are so many people living in deep depression. They need help; they need hope; they need to see that not everyone’s out to get them; not everyone is a competition or an enemy; not everyone wants to put them down.
We are gratefully humble; we don’t need people’s approval or praise; we’re not insecure because we find our significance and worth in our Lord Jesus; we don’t find it necessary to jockey for position because position isn’t what makes us important. It’s a joy for us to consider others better than ourselves. We’re meek; we understand that people need tender, gentle, loving care. We’re surrounded by fragile—sensitive people; many are them are already broken. We can’t change everyone, but we can change ourselves—for the better—continuously—increasingly better. And through us, the world is and can still be a better place. It may take a long time for us to see the difference; it’s okay, we have enough patience for that, and we’re still continually growing in it. We’re different—set apart for God’s specific purpose; we love it.
Philippians 4:5 (KJV) 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Moderation has much to do in relation to the coming of the Lord. The Lord’s return is near. Readiness for His return—wise preparation includes this most often overlooked virtue.
Instead of insisting on our own preferences, we give way. We don’t enforce our choices; we don’t lord it over others; instead, we reflect the gentle spirit of our Lord, His graciousness, His unselfishness, mercy, and understanding. It isn’t easy, but it’s doable. People often do things that are very foolish and can easily anger us, especially when their thoughtless actions result to more hard work for us—grrrr.
But we can’t be preoccupied with anger and frustration. It takes a lot of yieldedness to God’s Spirit, but we choose to see past people’s senselessness. Through this, we avoid anger and conflicts that can render us less effective in our testimony. We’d rather be more focused on the Lord’s coming than our own personal fulfillment. People are watching; we represent our Lord; we watch for His return; we watch our actions and reactions.
1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV) 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Just because we can be rude to those we love doesn’t mean rudeness or inappropriate behavior, conduct, or manners are acceptable expressions or acts of love.
Our actions neither defines nor justifies what true love is. Love is a standard through which our actions are measured.
Love has desires and expectations, but it never insists or forces.
When our expectations aren’t met, we often get irritated, annoyed, or provoked. Love says no to all these.
The more people fail to live up to our expectations, the more our love is challenged, the more opportunities we have to show how real our love is. This is magnified if they fail not only to live up to our expectations but when they literally do us wrong.
When those we love wrong us, we’d choose to erase rather than to record.
Luke 3:18 (AMP) 18 So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people.
John courageously prepared the way for the Lord Jesus through bold exhortations and preaching. He unflinchingly told it like it was. Doctrine, correction, rebuke, instruction – whatever was necessary, He spoke clearly, and bravely – no batting of eyelids, no fear of the potential of unescessarily offending others. He preached what people needed to hear – wanted or not. He preached the bad news and the good news. Despite being associated often only with radical rebukes, He did both: appealed and preached the Good News.
News ought to be uncompromisingly truthful. This is our special call as privileged bearers of the eternal truth. Many a times, there’s a tendency to gravitate towards either the pleasant, encouraging words or the fearful warnings and judgments. Those who joyfully preach the God of love look down on those who still engage in preaching hellfire and brimstone as preachers of legalism and condemnation. Those who adamantly preach about the God of holiness and justice look down on those who continually preach on the God of grace and mercy as shallow, compromising and advocates of licentiousness. Faithfulness requires fullness of the message. No matter what’s our propensity or inclination, no matter what’s our preference, we are to boldly speak them all: bad news and good news. Different personalities will yield different approaches – some, even interesting ones; it’s great; let’s just make sure we proclaim the same full Scripture message.
Dear God may we be faithful bearers of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – in love, with wisdom and gentleness, so help us God.