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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let your speech be with grace

In our Wednesday evening bible study we were studying the story of Joseph in
Genesis 39. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and ended up in
Egypt. He began his slavery there in the house of the man named Potiphar,
who was the captain of the Pharaoh's personal body guards. Joseph was
falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife (by her) and thrown into
the local prison by Potiphar. As we follow the story we see that God
continued to work in his life and he eventually was not only released, but
ended up as the second most powerful man in all of Egypt, second only to
Pharaoh himself.

As we were discussing this passage my wife asked, "How do you think Potiphar
felt the first time he had to go before Pharaoh?" He walks in after this
happened and was told that Joseph, the slave he threw in prison was now in
charge of him. Wow, what a thought! Not only that, how do think Joseph
reacted to his new position of power over Potiphar?

Well, anything we can imagine about this situation would only be
speculation, but from what we see later on about Joseph and the kind of man
he was, I think he was gracious. Later we see when he confronts his
brothers, who are afraid for their lives (they sold him as a slave); he
tells them, "you meant what you did for evil, but God used it for good".
Then we see them hugging one another's neck and crying for joy at the
reunion and restoration of their relationship.

Could you have done that? Do you do that with folks who have wronged you?
Last night in our home bible study we were discussing Colossians 4:6, which
says: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you
may know how you ought to answer everyone." That is how I imagine Joseph
behaving all of the time, not just when it was convenient. "Let your speech
be always with grace". That is, speak with kindness and good manners.
"Seasoned with salt," season your words with "Spiritual Insight and
Maturity," rather than attacks, so that those you talk with will listen to
the truth. We can never weaken the message of God's word, but we can use
wisdom as we present it to those around us.

I like the way a modern translation puts this verse, "Be gracious in your
speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not
put them down, not cut them out." (Colossians 4:6, The Message)

So, how are you doing at bringing out the best in others in your
conversations? A tough question for some of us, isn't it? My prayer is,
"Dear Lord, Make me more aware of the needs of others and more conscious of
the words I use in talking with them. Help me to be gracious and help me to
be able to help others to understand your word and come to you."

Russ Lawson

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