What we say and how we say it speaks volumes about who we are, what motivates us, and how much we care about others. The apostle Paul allows little wiggle room when it comes to thoughtless words:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Eph. 4:29).
Even when we must deliver a negative message, we are to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Consider this wisdom about our words from the book of Proverbs:
- A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1).
- Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone (Prov. 25:15).
- The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse (Prov. 10:32).
- An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips (Prov. 24:26).
- A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov. 25:11).
Here are a dozen simple ways our words can show grace and kindness. Note any ideas that fit for your personality, position, and workplace environment.
- Go out of your way to put in a good word for someone to the appropriate person.
- Express interest when someone shows you family photos.
- Make it a point to look people in the eyes and say “good morning” when you arrive and “hello” when you pass in the hallway.
- Say “thank you” to someone who faithfully performs a behind-the-scenes job.
- Celebrate with someone over a success.
- Honor someone by asking for their advice.
- Remind someone how much their work matters.
- Remember the name of a coworker’s spouse.
- Remember a coworker’s birthday or anniversary.
- Go out of your way to let coworkers know you appreciate something they did or said.
- Point out someone’s giftedness and how it blesses others on the team.
- Take the blame for a problem without blaming others.
This is the second article of a four-part series on communicating grace in the workplace:
- Part 1: Communicating Grace in an Ungracious World
- Part 3: Gracious Listening
- Part 4: Communicating Grace in Our Actions