Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NIV)
We are speaking here with non-Christians. Grace carries the idea of attractiveness and generosity. It gives the listener a feeling that the speaker is eager to know and is interested in him.
Grace is a relationship at the heart of which is a readiness to give freely. And the gift I have to offer is myself -- my listening, my understanding, my sensitive response, my practical wisdom. So many today in conversation have no empathy. They do not want to get alongside and help They don't even look you in the face.
It is a good adage that no patient should leave a doctor without feeling better for the interview: in other words, he has got something out of it, and he knows he has a friend.
But grace isn't all. Words need to be seasoned with salt. Seasoning makes food appetising, so that you enjoy eating it and want more. How does this apply to the Christian in medicine? Firstly, I'm sure, by the use of homely words and simple illustrations. We must never slip into the lazy habit of silencing a confused patient with obscure jargon. Secondly, humour and imagination make the patient feel relaxed by dispelling his fears that the doctor is unapproachable. But thirdly, there is bound to be a freshness and vitality of speech in one who daily lives in the Spirit and walks by the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of Jesus Christ constantly `makes all things new', and with him there is hope unquenchable.
Jesus Christ is, of course, our great example of One who, throughout his ministry, spoke words which were invariably gracious and salty. And that is how we ought to answer everyone.
Lord, you have give us lips to praise you and proclaim
your truth. We ask that we may never use them to bring
shame to your Name, nor to hurt or offend our fellow men.
Grant that by our conversation, we may always comfort
and strengthen others and point them to you who alone
can meet every need.
Further reading: Jn 6:63-69.