“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
I read a story about an elderly man whose hearing had declined over the years to where he could hardly understand what those around him were saying. Finally he went to the doctor and got a hearing aid. When he went back after a month for a checkup, the doctor asked how his family members liked being able to be heard when they spoke to him. “I didn’t tell them about the hearing aid,” the man replied. “I just sit there and listen. So far I’ve changed my will three times!”
God tells us in His Word that our speech should be wisely balanced with both grace and salt coming from our tongues. There are times to correct and times to praise and times to instruct. There are no times when it is right to gossip, to murmur, or to be critical with a harsh spirit. Many times we speak carelessly and thoughtlessly, not taking time to consider the impact of words we use on those who hear them.
The same passage in which Paul asked for people to pray for his speaking to be effective when he preached the gospel, contains this instruction about our daily conversation. Have you ever prayed that God would guide and guard your words as you talk to others? A person who does that will not casually speak because of the reminder of the importance of what we say to those who hear us.