By Michael Mooney, Ministry Practitioner
In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (1Pe 3:15-16 ESV).
In other words we should not beat people over the head with the truth, but rather we should communicate with “gentleness” and “respect”.
Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily. An angry person doesn’t do what God approves of. (Jas 1:19-20).
Ministers should be ever ready to hear the hearts and burdens of other people –first. Then they should respond without anger.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29 ESV).
Ministers should never speak things that are indecent, but rather they should speak in context for the purpose of building-up the listeners.
Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. (Pro 4:24 ESV).
Ministers should always be honest and not play games with words.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Col 4:6 ESV).
Salt is a preservative and a wonderful source of flavor. Ministers should answer people in a way preserves their conversation, seasons their thoughts, and that suits the personality of those who hear.
In Revelation chapters 2-3 we see that Jesus first praised the churches before he admonished them.
This is a powerful approach to correction. Opening statements of reproof should be seasoned with a word of encouragement or praise if at all possible. Doing so will greatly increase the chances of people listening.