Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Growing up, I learned a collection of verses through a little incentive program through church. We memorized and recited and repeated and practiced, running down the list in preparation for the big evening that we would perform this store of Scripture.
It's amazing to me, lo this many years later, to find that these verses still ring in the ears of my heart. It amazes me further the deeper treasures I continue to find as these words roll through my soul. I always understood the above verse, that portion about conversation being 'full of grace', as a reminder to talk like a lady, to speak gently, to articulate in modest tones, never too loud, never too harsh. In my mind, the picture next to this verse was Ma Ingalls...well, specifically, Karen Grassle's depiction of the matriarch of Little House on the Prairie. Her calm, soothing elocution seemed to me the perfect depiction of conversation full of grace.
Too bad I'm a rather loud, very emotive, expressive, gesturing communicator.
So I have for years felt that I pretty much fail the 'full of grace' conversationalist goal.
But I see now another definition. And I might have a shot at this one.
What if, just maybe, it's not about vocal tone and demeanor and soothing cadence? What if it is communication born of the thrill of being a recipient of God's grace? And if I really treasure that lavish grace, that extravagance that saves my soul and gives me access to the Father and makes me a co-heir to His blessings, shouldn't that gratitude find voice in the way I speak to others?
What if that is what my conversation is to be full of, the representation of our Father's love and favor? How would that change the way I would speak to the clerk who is taking too long? How would it change the way I speak about the challenges of others? Could it be that I should speak to others with the same measure of grace I would like to receive? What if that is true grace, beyond form and style, grace that resists judgment, grace that conveys compassion, grace that covers and forgives and renews?
I know the grace I hope to hear the Father use when He speaks to me. I hope to hear acceptance, understanding, love, kindness, patience. And if I want to hear that from Him, I suspect He would like to me talk to His other kids the same way.