More often than not, when we talk about the use of our tongue and the words we speak, we focus on not speaking those things which are harmful, such as lies, slander, gossip, cursing, etc. Well and good, but scripture also teaches us that we need to use our tongues in a helpful and uplifting way to “give grace to those who hear.” It seems to me that, in general, we don’t do this very well. We aren’t very generous in expressing words which edify and encourage others.
What are we talking about?
The first thing which comes to mind is that we don’t express our “thanks” very much or very well. We just have an expectation that people will do certain things and never consider how much thought, time, effort and spiritual energy were given to what was done. Do you thank the brother who led that prayer? What about the song leader for leading that uplifting song? Somebody prepared the Lord’s table. Did you appreciate the bulletin this week? The website and Face book are kept updated with blogs, podcasts, notices, etc. Someone decorated the building. Somebody paid the bills....
Closely associated with our “thank yous” are words of praise. “Nice job!” “Your words touched my heart.” “Keep up the good work.” “Your smile always warms my heart.” “Your faithfulness is an inspiration to me.”
Similarly, words of encouragement are so needful. “I know you’ve been going through a rough patch right now, and we’re keeping you in our prayers.” “Everybody fumbles with their words now and then. It’s what’s in the heart that matters.” “We heard about your trouble. How can we help?” “Remember, Jesus loves you.”
And what better words of grace than if we have opportunity to share the gospel with somebody? “Jesus is still the answer.”
Like the rest of our lives lived for Christ, our words are not simply to be void of evil and harm, but to be filled with grace and love.Speak words which “give grace to those who hear.”