by Elaine Colsten
Hammond, IN

Assuming now that we have filled our eyes, hearts and minds with good things, how do we exhibit a sweet spirit? Certainly we are not going to say, “Notice please! I am sweet today.” Sweetness, basically, is evidenced by the facial expression and by the mouth in reaction to specific comments and situations.

1. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when complimented. What do you say when your attire is admired? Just say graciously, “Thank you.” If you are willing to be a little more conversant and, yes, sweet, you could say, “Thanks, it’s my favorite color.” You might feel comfortable telling how you came to acquire it. “Mother gave it to me for my birthday.” “I got this bargain at a garage sale!” or “Thanks! I’m learning to sew, and I made this dress!” would be appropriate and interesting statements. Let us not respond as some have been heard to say—“Oh, this ugly rag!” or “This old thing; I got it last year!” or as one waitress said whose outfit I complimented, “I’m glad you like these uniforms; we hate them!”

2. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when corrected. What do you say when an employer declares your project to be inadequate? I hope not, “Well, (huff, puff) I’ve done it over completely three times already, and you’re still not satisfied!!??!!” I hope not, “But Miss So-and-So told me to do this project this way!” I hope you and I can learn to say, “I’m sorry. Thank you for helping me. I’ll do it over. How may I report back to you?”

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3. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when greeted. Look people in the eye, at least, in the face (if you’re short). Use the person’s name every time, if you possibly can! If you don’t know the name, ask it (giving yours first, of course), and be sure to use the name in the remainder of the conversation, especially when saying, “Good-bye.”

4. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when instructed. You have the power to make the one giving the instructions feel helpful, intelligent, wise and wonderful—OR—totally horrible and stupid. Possibly you have “made a face” and said, “I know how to do this! You don’t have to boss me!”

5. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when invited. Always hear the invitation with gratitude. Then accept or decline with kindness. “It’s so nice of you to invite me.” You may need to check your schedule, get permission, rearrange other obligations, etc., and you may not even be able to do so, but you can respond with thankfulness.

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6. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when requested (for help, information, work, etc.). Let’s not say, “What do you think I am—your slave?” or “Who was your servant last year?” We could say, “I’d be glad to do that for you.” We could also say, “Yes, ma’am,” and “Yes, sir,” but those are just words and phrases unless the supporting attitude is correct. How you say, “Yes, sir,” and the countenance on your face will make the difference! If you must decline the request for assistance, say, “Oh, I wish I could help you, but I’m already obligated. May I suggest someone else?” Then perhaps you can supply names and phone numbers so the other person will not be greatly detained in finding an answer for her need.

7. Let’s be sweet by learning what to say when reacting to an unaccepted suggestion. Let us not sigh angrily with, “Well, see if I ever offer you any help ever again!” Instead, possibly you could say as I said to a lady who called and asked my advice, “Whatever you decide to do is completely up to you. You need not report back to me. Also, I won’t be checking on you.”

THE SECRET to it all is found in Psalm 19:14 which says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Did you notice the phrase, “in thy sight”? Oh, my! He sees my words and my thoughts! Let’s keep sweet.

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Bayview Baptist Church Laurel, DE Ladies Conference