Careful Conversation

Careful Conversation

Words of Faith 12-2-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 4

[6] Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

 

      We live in a communication age that the Apostle Paul could not have even imagined.  Paul carried on conversations around fires and wrote letters by lantern light on parchment.  That was it. He could never have imagined conversations going on all over the world with phones, text messages, emails, Skype, IM, and blogs!  Yet the very same cautions he gave two thousand years ago are just as important, if not more so.

      Paul knew that there are few things quite as important to our witness as the way that we converse in common life, no matter the mode of communication. Careful words can guide a soul toward heaven. Careless words can undo years of progress that God has been working on! This is why Paul urged not only careful actions—be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity— but also called believers to be careful about their conversation.

       Paul directed believers that their conversations should be always full of grace. The word grace (charis) speaks of the favor of God. Conversations among believers and entered into by believers should reveal and interject the favor and mercy of God. Believers will introduce forgiveness, grace, and an expectation of the best about people rather than suspicion and cynicism. A believer will never focus on or introduce accusation because accusation is not the mode of God but rather is the language of the devil—the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). Gossip that accuses is authored in hell by Lucifer himself. Conversations full of grace are authored in a heart surrendered to the Lord.

       Conversations that are full of grace will also reflect pleasantness, attractiveness, charm, and winsomeness in the broader sense of that word.  But this doesn't mean that Christian conversation is sickeningly sweet. It is also seasoned with salt. For something to be seasoned with salt means it is marked by purity and wholesomeness but not insipid or bland. A believer’s conversation will be flavorful and filled with zest and liveliness without being unwholesome, biting or sarcastic.  

       Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (4:29).  People should walk away from a conversation with a believer feeling edified and built up, not burdened, sullied, or torn down. We cannot control the words of those around us. But, we can control what comes out of our own mouth, and we do not have to give audience to that which is unwholesome, not edifying.

       Jesus said quite plainly: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36).  There is a sobering responsibility assigned to the words that we choose and the conversations that we guide.

      We should take great care to understand that there are no “casual conversations,” only divine appointments.  What we do with a particular interaction-- whether by voice, phone, email, or blog-- is the disposition of a sacred trust and a sacred moment.

       Peter gave this guidance: “In your hearts set apart 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

       When we truly set apart Christ as Lord, He will rule our hearts and our tongue.  We should be prepared at any time to give the reason for the hope that is in us. We need not enter into the fray or argue a point. Simply give the reason for the hope that is in us but always with gentleness and respect toward others keeping a clear conscience.  That is part of the seasoning with salt and the fullness of grace.

       So how are your conversations? In the air, on the keyboard, over the text message, on the phone or online?  Do you give the reason for the hope? Do you converse in a manner of gentleness and respect?  Is there any unwholesomeness that you need to repent of?  Is there a person that you have gossiped about or participated in gossip about?  Do you need to make that right? Are there careless words you need to retract or correct? Is there a person that you realize you should not converse with because of their gossip or slander of others? Is there a fullness of grace that you need to cultivate within a group or ongoing conversation?

 

       Father God, give me grace to guard my heart and my tongue.  Let my conversation be always full of grace and seasoned with salt so that I may know how to answer everyone. Give me wisdom to recognize the divine appointments that You have scheduled into my life.  Make my words careful. Make my words caring.  In Jesus’ Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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