Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6)
How salty is your speech? How do we season our conversations with the salt of God’s grace?
If you research salt, you’ll find it has innumerable qualities and can be used in amazing ways. Salt has three primary effects: it preserves, it adds flavor, and it makes us thirsty. When we talk to other people, we should be mindful of these three.
Use words that preserve.
To preserve is to keep alive, intact, or free from decay. Canning is a way of “preserving” that allows us to take a fresh vegetable and save it for use on a future date. Our world today is filled with division and hatred. Words that are grace-filled maintain friendships so that they have a future. We don’t “burn our bridges” with sharp tongues. We don’t cut off opportunities for future conversations but agree to disagree and still be friends. We control our temper and avoid saying hurtful things in the heat of a moment. We realize we don’t need to always have the last word, that we can part as friends, giving opportunity for dialogue on another day.
Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Use words that flavor.
Salt can change the taste of almost anything to be “more palatable.” I don’t know all the science behind it, but apparently, salt suppresses the bitter and enhances the sweet. It’s why we can add it to both savory and sweet dishes to make them taste better. Mothers know instinctively how to add the salt of “grace” when teaching or disciplining a child. It’s using words that focus on the positive results desired so that the “bitterness” of punishment is received in the best way. The Bible has a lot to say about sin; how we communicate this can either make a person want to know God or reject Him entirely. Words filled with the salt of God’s grace talk about His righteousness, His goodness, and His justice, not just His wrath against sin. The gospel (the message of grace) is good news. Mankind is already condemned; grace flavors our conversations with the hope that Christ brings for redemption and salvation.
Romans 2:4 – Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Use words that cause thirst.
Jesus said, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink (John 7:37). Speaking of Himself, He offered the woman at the well living water (John 4). The point of our conversations ought to be to create a thirst for Jesus. One of my favorite passages is 2 Timothy 2:24-27, where Paul tells us how we ought to talk to other people who disagree with us about Jesus.
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
Salt makes us want more. A bowl of cold, unsalted tortilla chips might tempt me to eat a few, but set them before me warm and salty, and I will keep eating and ask for more! In the same way, our words should make others thirsty to hear more and more about Jesus, the Living Water, who can satisfy their longings. Sprinkle your conversations with words that point to Jesus.
How’s your conversation? Do your words make others want more of Jesus, or cause them to think less of God? Words are powerful. Ask God to fill your tongue with the saltiness of His grace before you open your mouth.