If we have experienced the grace of God in Christ Jesus, then it is incumbent upon us to be gracious with others, particularly in our speech. Here are some examples of gracious speech:
Words of affirmation
“I respect you. You mean so much to me. I love you.”
Gracious speech will seek to affirm the people in our lives. We will use our words to let others know how much they mean to us. These are the words that come from a place of love.
This is the oldest preacher joke in the world: A couple goes to marriage counseling after being married for 30 years. The wife says to counselor, “I’ve had it! He never tells me he loves me!” The counselor asks the husband, “Is this true?” The husband replies, “Well, I told her that I loved her when we got married. If I had changed my mid, I would’ve said so!”
Some of the most gracious words we can speak are words of affirmation to our loved ones. There’s probably someone in your life who could really use some words of affirmation from you today.
Words of apology
“I’m sorry. I was wrong. You were right.”
These words are so important and yet, we have the hardest time saying this to the ones who are closest to us.
This week I had to go back to one of my children and say, “I was wrong.” There was part of me that resisted, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. And I will 100% guarantee that these kinds of words will foster more gentleness and peace in your relationships. It will transform your relationships when you can legitimately take ownership when you’re in the wrong.
Words of forgiveness
“I forgive you.”
For most of us, these are the hardest words of all. It’s actually easier for most of us to admit when we’re wrong but much harder for us to let go of something when we have been wronged. But I want to remind you once again of Ephesians 4:32, Forgive one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. If we have experienced the forgiveness of Christ, then words of forgiveness should be a regular part of our gracious speech.
Words that remain unspoken
One of the keys to gracious speech is knowing what NOT to say. Here’s what I mean by this:
Avoiding purposefully offensive language. We live in a politically correct culture — one that is probably TOO concerned with being politically correct, if you ask me. But we shouldn’t thumb our nose to this by using purposefully offensive language either. What kind of witness will we have to the world if we’re purposefully offensive?
Saying nothing at all. Sometimes the most gracious thing I can do is to say nothing at all. Think about what your mother always told you: just because you have a thought in your head doesn’t mean you should necessarily say it OUT LOUD. This takes a lot of wisdom and self-control but it is one of the keys to exercising gracious speech — knowing what NOT to say.
Is there someone in your circle who could use a little bit of grace? Maybe it’s someone who needs grace in the form of kind words, words that are full of compassion and mercy. We’re all hurting right now — which means this is a great time to demonstrate some kindness and compassion to those around us.
Our God is a gracious God. May we, in turn, be a gracious people.