The Scripture tells us that at all times we must be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15) And also, when we speak to others, the Bible exhorts us to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6)
Gentleness and respect. Seasoned with salt. How do we apply these principles in everyday life, especially in situations that test our patience? Here’s a story from Carol* that illustrates this.
I had advertised in my church bulletin that I was going to run a Bible course using By This Name. Margaret* contacted me and signed up for herself and her niece. Several days before our first session, I took my kids to a recreational facility for some lessons I’d signed them up for. Due to the recent arrival of new staff and the departure of some veterans, the staff members were in a bit of disarray. The schedule for the day was mixed up and there were kids in confusion, awaiting the start of their lessons. The new facility administrator was struggling to field questions from frustrated parents as she sought to bring a semblance of order to the chaos.
She approached me to apologize and I assured her that I wasn’t upset and I knew they’d get things figured out; I could tell she was having a rough day and so tried to leave her with a few positive words and an encouraging smile. They did eventually get the confusion sorted out, my kids had their lesson and we left.
A day or two later, Margaret mentioned to me that I had met her niece recently. I couldn’t guess who she was talking about, until Margaret said her niece was the new recreational facility administrator! Her niece had appreciated the one parent who didn’t give her a hard time a few days before. My friend put two and two together and realized I had met her niece that day.
How thankful I was that I had chosen to walk in the Spirit and not in my own flesh that afternoon. What a disaster it would have been if I’d followed suit with the other parents and vented my frustration, only to realize I’d soon be taking that same young woman through a Bible study course! I was so thankful for the Lord’s grace in that situation!
Truly, it was good that the Holy Spirit reminded Carol to treat the facility administrator with gentleness and respect. In our own daily lives, as we keep our eyes open for opportunities to share the gospel, let us remember to let our speech be gracious and seasoned with salt.
(*Name changed as per GoodSeed policy.)