Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. --Colossians 4:6 In a Discipleship Journal article entitled "A Vessel of Grace," Robert Hager tells about a father who received a letter in the mail explaining that his son had failed a class during his senior year. It had been the father's hope that his son would be attending a prestigious university, so he was obviously upset. But rather than express his disappointment to his son, the father chose to focus his wrath on the school and its representatives. He stormed into the teacher's classroom after school the next day and demanded that the grade be changed. The teacher, believing the grade to be the right one, refused. The father threatened to have the teacher fired and marched from there to the principal's office. Once he was in the principal's office, the father launched into a tirade. Already familiar with the situation, the principal told the father that the grade was fair and that there was nothing he could do. The father was livid. He screamed loud enough for everyone in the school office to hear that his next visit would be with the superintendant of schools. At this point the principal could have done several things. He could have met anger with anger. He could have called school security and had the man removed from campus. Instead he said something that instantly took the wind from the father's sails. He looked him in the eye and said, "You must love your son very much." The father was taken aback. From there he went on to explain how important it was to him that his son do well and how worried he was that the grade would adversely affect his son's future. When he left the principal's office that day, he was no less disappointed or worried about his son. But he had decided that he would no longer look seek to punish the school system for his son's actions. What the principal did was introduce a little bit of grace into the situation. Without compromising his integrity or undermining his teacher, he was able to show sympathy to a worried father. And because of that, he was able to call the father to a higher standard. Paul's command at the end of Colossians (see above) is a great encouragement for us. It's also quite a challenge. Life is much easier when you don't have to ask yourself, "What is the graceful thing to do here?" But don't we also benefit when we can show others grace? After all, if we can be graceful to others, we can also be graceful to ourselves.