BY CLINT LOVEALL - FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SPIRIT LAKE
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
Did you know that salt is the only rock that humans need to eat? We dabble with a few others for taste and extravagance, but only salt is critical to the human diet. In the ancient world, salt was a treasured commodity and even used as a currency at times. Though we tend to take it for granted, and often get too much of it, historically salt was almost universally celebrated as a good thing.
So, when Paul writes, "season your speech with salt," he doesn’t mean what we might think of as "salty." He starts the verse with let your speech always be gracious, and the follow-up reference to salt means to speak in a way that preserves and seasons. In other words, Christians are to speak in such a way that is dignified, gracious, and encouraging in order to maintain good relationships with everyone possible. Paul considers how we speak to others a measure of our faith, and faithfulness, to Jesus.
What a great reminder to all of us in these strange times. The world gives us no shortage of daily examples of the wrong kind of "salty" speech. We see it and hear it constantly, people attacking one another, criticizing one another, insulting and accusing one another. Every single day, we are subjected to a steady stream of undeniably "non-gracious" words in the news, the paper, social media, and individual conversations. It seems like negative speech has become our default position.
I don’t get it. Why do we constantly feel the need and the right to weaponize our opinions against others? I truly fear that we are losing the ability to talk to each other if we have different views. Of course, media, so-called experts, and celebrities drive much of this, but I fear that Christians are often guilty of going along with the crowd. Some days it seems like much of what comes out of people’s mouths or keyboards in Christ’s name has almost no grace in it and very little that preserves and seasons relationships.
Especially in a time of crisis, but really in all times, we need to take Paul’s command to heart. People need to hear gracious and seasoned speech from those who follow Christ.
What we say and how we say it should reflect the savior we serve. Let us strive to make sure that what we say, what we type, and what we post online meet the standards he has given us. May our words be a witness of our faith. Let us commit to build others up rather than tear them down, to speak in love even to those we don’t agree with, and to encourage rather than criticize, and may we do it in the name of Jesus Christ.