Be an Example in Speaking and in Conduct
1 The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to become an example in speaking and in conduct. (1 Tim. 4:12) We also should display exemplary speech and conduct, especially when engaging in the ministry, for doing so may determine whether or not we reach the heart of those we meet.
2 We need to display all aspects of good manners, including courtesy, consideration, kindness, politeness, and tact. By reflecting these qualities, we show that we are aware of how our actions affect the feelings of others. Good manners in the ministry may be compared to seasonings, which are used to enhance the flavor of food. Without them, wholesome food can taste bland and unappetizing. The failure to display good manners in our dealings with others can have a similar effect.—Col. 4:6.
3 Be an Example in Speaking: A friendly smile and a warm greeting are vital elements of our presentation of the good news. When we flavor our introduction with warmth and sincerity, we let the householder know that we are genuinely interested in him. When he speaks, listen carefully and show due respect for his opinion. When you speak, do so with tact and graciousness.—Compare Acts 6:8.
4 Occasionally we meet an individual who may be unfriendly, even belligerent. How should we react? Peter urged us to speak in a way that displays “a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15; Rom. 12:17, 18) Jesus said that if a householder rudely rejects the Kingdom message, we should simply ‘shake the dust off our feet.’ (Matt. 10:14) Our displaying exemplary manners under such circumstances may eventually soften the heart of the opposer.
5 Be an Example in Conduct: Preaching the good news on busy streets and in public places requires that we be considerate, never loud or insistent, and that we do not interfere with the flow of passersby. When in the homes of interested persons, we ought to maintain proper decorum and conduct ourselves as gracious guests, showing appreciation for their hospitality. Any children who accompany us must show respect for the householder and his property and should be mannerly and attentive when we are conversing. If children are unruly, this will leave an unfavorable impression.—Prov. 29:15.
6 Our personal appearance should make it obvious to others that we are ministers of God’s Word. In our dress and grooming, we should be neither slovenly and unkempt nor flashy and extravagant. Our appearance should always be worthy of the good news. (Compare Philippians 1:27.) By giving careful attention to our appearance and equipment, we will not give others a cause for stumbling or for finding fault with our ministry. (2 Cor. 6:3, 4) Our exemplary speech and conduct add an appealing quality to the Kingdom message, bringing honor to Jehovah.—1 Pet. 2:12.