How You Respond To People Matters?

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6, NASB95)


Communication and conversation is a give and take event. The content of your words matters just as much as the presentation. For example, I can order my favorite meal from my favorite restaurant so that we can share it together, but if I first put that meal into a blender, will you eat it? Or perhaps I invite you over for a meal, but instead of taking time to prepare something enjoyable, I grab whatever is sitting around, and without thinking, I pitch it all in a pot and serve it up cold. Many people’s palate is triggered by their eyes, and the same way thoughts are received and processed by the communication and presentation of our ideas. In Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae, Paul addresses the need for the careful communication of Christ-followers when responding to people. The Christ-follower’s response is always to be in grace and seasoned with salt.

Paul first states, “Let your speech always be gracious as appropriate for a Christ-follower, as one who is living in the grace of God.” The foundation for communication in the believer’s life should always begin from a place of grace. The idea Paul is conveying is, just as you have received the fullness of God’s grace through Jesus, you are then to communicate in the fullness of that same grace towards other people when you speak to them. The unbeliever cannot communicate with this level of grace because they have not experienced the grace of God. Therefore, believers are to guide the conversation with how they communicate.

Secondly, Paul states, “Let your speech be such that it preserves life, promotes health, and is palatable.” Salt typically has three uses, 1) preserves food, 2) sterilizes from infection, 3) adds flavor. When communicating with others, it is important that your conversation adds value to the person. Sometimes your speech may have a preservative value such as in warning. From a place of grace, the believer is to speak of warnings and confront sin in order to preserve life. At other times you might need to speak words of exhortation and instruction in order to promote health. From a place of grace, you might exhort or correct toxic behavior or attitudes. Finally, and often the most important, Christ-followers should think before they speak and ask themselves, “Am I clearly presenting my thoughts in a way the hearer will receive them or will they just spit my words back in my face?”

Words matter, and once a word is spoken, it can never be retrieved. Consider the fact that Jesus will hold you accountable for your words. “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36, NASB95)

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