I was born into a family of writers and historians.
I used to sit in on studio writing sessions and see royalty checks coming in. I recall sitting at the foot of my grandmother’s bed and listening to stories of her being the first female music editor at the Hollywood Reporter. My first job was writing for Smokey Robinson, and then I moved to a more journalistic approach to writing, interviewing celebrities ranging from Fred Hammond to Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé to Carmen Dellavaude.
I was born to write.
I understood sentence structure before I could properly ride a bike. Emphasis heavy on nouns, verbs, syntax and diction. In turn, having such an intense understanding of the English language prior to coming into the knowledge of Christ made me understand His Living Word more. When I started reading the Bible, I was blown away how Jesus could shift physics and confront the Laws of Motion with a simple flick of the wrist. But what fascinated me most was that all of a sudden, nouns were reborn into verbs. One word typically used as a simple description could come alive and take flight all with the power of Christ.
So naturally, I took to heart scriptures like Proverbs 18:21, which reads “death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Ephesians 4:29, “ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” Matthew 12:37 “For by your words we shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned…”
There is something more to the natural and mechanical make up of our words and their supernatural ability to transform our lives and the lives of those around us. But what I couldn’t understand as easily as the scriptures above, because they all had an end game or a consequence, was Colossians 4:6, which reads, “Let your conversation be always full of grace.”
There’s that word: grace…what does that mean?
Grace is a word that many Christians hear and take comfort in, but do we really understand it? Grace, like love or even faith evokes a positive and passionate response without a literal and tangible shape. But grace is something entirely different. Grace is a gift that may inspire love and forgiveness. And because it is a gift, it cannot be earned, but only given and received.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace.” If our words are to be filled with grace, it demands we give a gift to others every time we speak, text, send an e-mail or write a post-it.
Grace is expensive. If we are to speak words full of grace it’ll cost us something. It’ll cost us to speak words that are beyond our agenda, our opinion and even what we think of ourselves. Grace costs us to think futuristically. To see ourselves and other people the way God sees us in order to communicate in ways that can be revolutionary.
Grace takes discipline. We have to be focused on not spewing hate or words laced with venom because in essence, that is an assault on the heart of another person. This is not so easy when someone is accusing us of things. But should we be more focused on the truth being known or us being right?
Grace creates an active listener. When you really listen to the thoughts of someone, you are not thinking about your next response. You are engaging, nodding in acceptance and approval and not being selfish. Now, this does not mean that we cannot share our thoughts and opinions, but it means we will be able to grow more and connect with whom we are having a conversation with. The bonus feature to this is you will learn more about the person, which will create a better understanding and/or bond with each other.
Grace takes courage. This correlates with the discipline grace take. I am sure there have been a few times where the one at fault blames you. You know it and your accuser knows it. Or other times when someone is yelling so hard and so strong, cussing at you and making you think twice about your religion. But what would happen if, even in the moments when it feels like we are being attacked, we spoke words of grace, hope and forgiveness? That’s where real courage lies. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
We have been given the power through the authority of Christ Jesus to heal the sick and move mountains if we needed to. Isn’t it amazing that one word of peace or a declaration for your day could help reshape your very life? To rise above we need to hold discipline and courage in one hand and faith and reason in the other hand.
With these tools you could be obedient to God, and unstoppable in this life. You can be the change we all hope to see. Shalom.