“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)
If you habitually put your foot in your mouth, there’s a scriptural remedy. “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (v. 6). Notice this: to speak effectively requires you to be “gracious” in your dealings with others. And while honesty is always the best policy, it’s not a license to say whatever you want. One of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to deal with others tactfully and with sensitivity when you find yourself in a difficult situation. You would think exhibiting graciousness would come easily to those who claim to be filled with the Spirit of God, but the evidence shows otherwise.
We tend to perpetuate the communication style of the family we grew up in. You say, “But sometimes you need to be brutally honest!” Extending grace and being truthful are not mutually exclusive. You can learn to tell the truth tactfully. The Bible says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Jesus never allowed courtesy and kindness to prevent Him from telling the truth, but He never did it in a mean-spirited way. Nor should you. Sometimes we claim to be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), when the truth is that anger, frustration, disappointment, and retaliation are what’s truly in our hearts. What’s the remedy? Before you speak, take a moment to review the words in your mind, and try to evaluate their impact. Then choose to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Doing that will help you develop the emotional discipline necessary for stifling tactless remarks.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for all the times I speak the truth but not tactfully. Help my conversation to be gracious. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.