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Grace on Our Lips?

This must be more important than we know.

The sound of Colum Cille's voice:/its sweetness above every choir.

  - Oengus mac Oengobann, Feilire Oengusso (Irish, 9th century)

...grace is poured upon your lips...

  - Psalm 45.2

Some time ago, aware that I needed to improve my skills as a conversationalist and a writer, I began jotting down passages of Scripture that relate to how we use our tongues.

As I would have my daily devotions, and would come across a text, I'd write the text in my projects notebook. I assumed I'd be able to sort through the few texts and get busy putting them into practice in just a short while.

That was three years and five pages ago. I'm still collecting texts. The Bible has a lot to say about how we should use our tongues and, by extension, how we should write. I fall way short in both these areas, and I'm eager to see some real progress - soon.

Colum was remembered because of the sweetness of his speech. By all accounts he was gentle, quiet, but deliberate in speech. He made his words count, but he offered them with grace. He was remembered as being one whose voice was lovely to hear, just as his words are lovely - yet powerful - to read.

Jesus is described as having grace poured on his lips (cf. Heb. 1.8, 9, quoting Ps. 45 in reference to Christ). I'm still trying to learn what this means. One of the goals we pursue in working our Personal Mission Fields is to make it a place where we build others up, and one of the disciplines we're trying to master is that of conversation. Having grace poured on our lips - all our words sweet and true, even when they bear news or truths that sting - must surely be one of our highest objectives.

But I confess attaining this objective eludes me still. We must all work to season our words with grace (Col. 4.6) so that we speak the truth in love (Eph. 4.15) and build others up in the Lord (Eph. 4.29). The enemies of this, in my case at least, are not thinking clearly about how my words will be received, and not taking the initiative to begin a conversation with grace. It's just too easy to say nothing or to speak or write in an unthoughtful manner.

This must be more important than we know, or the Bible wouldn't say so much about it. We can be fountains of grace to other people. Our words can strike them with a sweetness that leads them to want to hear more, and to discover the Source of our gracious speech.

But we'll have to work at it. It doesn't come naturally, and it doesn't come easily. Letting our speech be always with grace demands constant attention to our words and ongoing submission to the Lord and others.

The results - speech and writing that edify - are worth the effort. Let us thus press on, shall we?

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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