As the holiday season so ubiquitously ushers in rare and sometimes extended time with family and friends, I found myself praying the other day for wisdom in speech and graciousness in attitude in all relationships that I may encounter in this season of celebration. I asked for patience and humility as well, as there is nothing as un-festive as pride rearing its ugly head in the midst of our celebrations. Each of us so desires to make beautiful memories with friends and loved ones during this special time of year; and yet, how many times do we look back and find the nostalgia tainted by poor consideration of words or the timing of conversations.
I then came across a fantastic little post by CJ Mahaney, offering encouragement to give the gift of thoughtful conversation. Considerate words. Purposeful words. Timely words.
So what words fit a particular occasion? Consideration for one we are conversing with must inform our words. So before I speak I must observe and listen. I must ask questions. I must take an interest in them.
• If they are Christians, are there evidences of grace I can draw their attention to?
• If they are not Christians, are there evidences of common grace in their life?
• Is this person experiencing prosperity?
• Or is this person experiencing adversity?
• If they are suffering I want to give them comforting grace through my words.
• If they are weary, I want to give them sustaining grace through my words.
• And to all, when and where appropriate, I want to share the gospel, for that is the most effective way to give grace through my words.
I’m so blessed to see my own prayer echoed in these thoughts by CJ! He concludes by making this powerful observation:
“Buying the appropriate Christmas gift for someone requires that we know and study them. But this is no less true of our conversations.”
Let’s be encouraged this Christmas season, to give the gift of deliberate speech and a gracious perspective.
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17, ESV