"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to respond to each person." Col. 4:5-6
For a moment, let's place ourselves in the shoes of one who enters one of our centers or residential homes. Think of all of the flooding emotions, uncertainties and questions.
The first-time visitor to a pregnancy help organization knows little about us beyond an advertisement or a friend's referral. Now, she (or he) is suddenly alone, at the mercies of those inside the door.
Concerns and questions arise from everywhere. Will they be nice to me? Will they judge me? Do they care about me? Do they have an agenda? Will this cost me something either financially or emotionally? What kind of people offer this for free? Will they try and control me in some way?
These are legitimate questions, coming from a lens of cynicism toward a society where we are told to "get what you can, whenever you can," or to ask, "What's in it for me?"
She feels like an outsider and has legitimate fears any outsider might face.
This is where Paul's words ring so true: "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace . . . ."
Different situations require different pearls of wisdom, and as we look at each person we see as an opportunity to impart God's perspective and hope into a situation, we gain clarity as to what we should say, and how to say it.
Speaking with grace is the foundation of so much of what we do. Those we see, whether they admit it or not, often feel judged. Interestingly, this judgment is often internal. Speaking with grace can often turn an "I feel judged" situation into, "I can change, and here is my opportunity!"
Utilizing wisdom, and speaking with grace don't guarantee that we will always see positive outcomes in those we see. But, these two characteristics do lend themselves to hope; and we never know where a little hope can lead.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
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