Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Ok, so this verse tests my limits. It is hard to be gracious in our speech. I can think of several instances:
It is hard to be gracious in the face of the vocal and opinionated. Especially if they are wrong. Often we feel that in order to be heard we have to either take the argument to a more personal and inflammatory level, or raise the volume of our voice. In the language of social media we start using BOLD AND CAPTIALS to get our point across. At other times because our opponents speak in forceful certainties, we think that we have present our arguments in terms of cement rather than presenting a well thought out and nuanced argument. Nuance is the language of the diplomat, the ambassador, and that's what Jesus has called us to be. Oh, to be sure there are areas in which we cannot hedge, but there are plenty of times that a gracious word will do far more good than an intractable stand.
It is sometimes difficult to be graceful when confronted with our own mistakes, wrongdoing, or sin. The first instinct is to lash out at the individual bringing our problem to our attention. I suppose this has a lot to do with pride. We don't like to admit that we sometimes are just plain wrong, and we are never inclined to make apology and amends. It is, however, as or more important to be graceful when we are wrong as it is to be gracious when we are right.
It is a great challenge to be gracious when in the presence of the ill informed and ignorant. When people just don't have the facts or misuse what little information they possess as a premise for a greater misinformed argument, it takes all you have in you not to get up on a chair, point your finger and say "You're dead wrong!" But we, as the ambassadors for Christ have to pick our battles. My father used to say, "Choose the hill you want to die on." Does it really matter if their opinion of politics, music, your church, or the local restaurant is way off base? If we go into full 'correction' mode on these and other issues, it may lose us an opportunity to correct their view of Jesus at a later date. Their perspective of Jesus is the main issue. First things first, always...even if you have to let a few things slide by to be addressed at a later date.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.