If we tend to say the wrong things, there’s a scriptural solution for us: ‘Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone’ (v.6 NLT). To speak effectively, we need to be ‘gracious’ when dealing with others. And while honesty is always the best policy, it doesn’t mean we can say whatever we want. One of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to deal with others tactfully and with sensitivity when we find ourselves in a difficult situation. We might think that being brutally honest is sometimes the best course of action, but extending grace to someone and being truthful aren’t mutually exclusive. We can and should learn to tell the truth tactfully. The Bible says, ‘For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17 NIV). Jesus didn’t let courtesy and kindness prevent Him from telling the truth, but He never did it in a mean-spirited way. Sometimes we can claim to be ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15), when the truth is that anger, frustration, disappointment, and retaliation are what’s really in our hearts. So what’s the answer? Before we speak, we should take a moment to review the words in our mind, and try to evaluate their impact. Then we should choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. If we’re feeling prompted to change what we say or how we say it, or even to not say anything just yet, then we should follow what the Spirit is saying to us. Doing that will help us develop the discipline to cut out tactless remarks from our conversations.
Find some Bible verses about how we should speak to others (such as Colossians 4:6 and Ephesians 4:29). Read each one carefully a few times, then use them as inspiration to write your own prayer for your speech to be gracious and Spirit-led.
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