Week 48 Word: Kind Speech
Week 48 Text: Colossians 4:6 NLT
Written By: Andrea Ferrell
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you may have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4: 6 NLT)
“I have had it up to here with you today!”
“You are on my last nerve!”
“Were you raised in a barn?”
“Don’t forget your P’s and Q’s.”
“Because I said so.”
“I am at the end of my rope today.”
“It looks like a tornado went through here!”
Any of these sound familiar? I have a feeling they do because you either heard one or all of these sayings as a child, or you say them now as a parent (like me). Or both (even though I am quite certain I told my adolescent self that I “would NEVER say that” when I was a mom). Most of these are said out of frustration, a warning for all those within a 6 foot radius of mom to listen up; she is serious. There is one phrase that I didn’t mention above which is the most popular in my household right now (and for good reason):
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Is this what Paul is saying to the church in Colossae? Maybe, or maybe not.
Friend, are your conversations gracious and kind? If you look back over the past few hours or days, would you find that you had more tally marks in the gracious and kind column or the hurtful and critical column?
Maybe we need to even take it a step further (because Jesus always seemed to be interested in the heart) and evaluate our thoughts. Which column has more tally marks now?
It sure is easy for me to critique and correct my children in this area. But honestly, if I took the time to search my own heart—I hate to say it—but I think my columns would be off balance, and heavy on the ugly side.
This passage gets even more interesting if you look at the context. In the preceding verse Paul says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5, NLT)
Could Paul be specifically instructing us as Christians how to interact with those who don’t believe? Seems to me, yes. If we polled the unbelievers in the world and asked them to rate Christian’s speech as gracious and attractive versus hurtful and judgmental, which direction do you think the scale would lean?
My friend Whitney says the church should be the most compelling because Jesus was the most compelling.
Did Jesus lie? No.
Did Jesus sugar coat the truth? No.
Did Jesus offend? Yeah, sometimes—but He was always right.
Did Jesus compel complete strangers and sinners to drop everything and follow him? Yes.
Did Jesus make the most of every opportunity? Yes.
Did Jesus have the right response for everyone? Yes.
Do you have the power of Jesus inside of you? Yes!
So, we could live by the phrase that we heard so often as children, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And I think that is good advice. But I believe that we can do better than that because WE CANNOT BE SILENT. Instead, let’s tap into the power within us, the Holy Spirit, and live by these words, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6)
1. Take the time to search your heart and conversations, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any times your speech or thoughts have been hurtful or ungracious. Repent.
2. Make it your mission to use kind words this week. Write a kind letter to someone, send a grace-filled text message, or compliment a complete stranger!
3. Practice gracious speech. Write down some responses you could make to someone to whom you rarely have anything nice to say, making sure they are “gracious and attractive.”