Responding with grace

by Stan Mitchell

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).

You’ve seen the advert.

A couple is settling down to enjoy a concert when they realize their little boy is not with them. “I thought he was with you!” they each say. Then to their horror they see their boy on the stage, sitting on a stool before the piano. Before they can react, he begins to play in a child-like way the notes to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” one note at a time.

Then it gets even more excruciating. Here comes the maestro, resplendent in a tux and tails.

What will he do? Shoo the impertinent boy away? Demand to know which “loser” parents would allow a little boy to run loose in a concert hall?

Instead, the great pianist whispers to the boy, “Keep playing.” Next he begins to provide his own notes, beautifully done in accompaniment with the little boy’s childish notes.

I’m not certain what quality the advert is seeking to teach but to me it exhibits a man who handles a potentially difficult situation with grace. Here was a great man who might have felt affronted that a mere boy would be sitting at his piano; instead, he chose to respond with class and dignity.

I’m not sure I always respond to potentially difficult situations with grace, but I do think it is something we can all work on. Paul directs us to allow our speech to be characterized by grace and thoughtfulness. When we respond gracefully, we elevate ourselves, those whom we have helped, and God.

After all, what is the word that most characterizes our relationship with God? Isn’t it grace?

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