“Let your speech be always filled with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one (Colossians chapter 4, verse 6)”.
I love a good chat. Particularly, if it is during a long beach walk or at a café with good coffee. I enjoy being able to connect with people and I will never shy away from a lively debate.
Recently I have been taking some time to reflect upon my speech. Sometimes, I feel as though I am living behind a camouflaged façade. My chameleon coat, my speech, changing to blend more naturally based on the social environment I habituate.
How often do we find ourselves ensnared in conversations involving gossip, judgement or slander? Perhaps, like me, you have also experienced being both the perpetrator and victim to these forms of poor communication. You know the results. Misunderstandings, pain and broken relationships.
In contrast, perhaps you have had the experience of being encouraged by a positive discussion or heartfelt compliment. You know the feeling of walking away from a conversation feeling loved, energised and wonderfully optimistic about life.
In Colossians chapter 4, verse 6, Paul encourages the Christians at the church in Colossae to have grace-filled, salt seasoned speech. I suggest that this reminder is needed just as much today as it was back then.
So why salt?
To flavour and preserve
Salt is a naturally occurring mineral used to flavour food. Like salt, our lives are intended to bring flavour, vibrancy, and joy to the world.
God has given us the greatest gift, the opportunity for a relationship with Him and eternal life. Is that not the most exciting news? Furthermore, our conversations with others should be Christ-focused, intended to demonstrate His love towards all.
Secondly, salt acts as a natural preservative in order to maintain and prevent decomposition. In 1 Timothy chapter 4, verse 12, Paul instructs Timothy to set an example in speech in order to illustrate the expectations required for believers.
Our conversations should be intending to continue sharing the good news with others. Furthermore, through encouraging others, we are able to build them up and reflect their Christ-given identity.
The human versus the tongue.
“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity (Proverbs chapter 21, verse 23).”
Proverbs chapter 21, verse 23 provides us with a clear warning about the dangers of loose tongues. However, it can be difficult to heed this instruction.
Salt seasoned speech involves a process of transformation within the human heart. It involves the personal recognition that my words are powerful. Used wisely, they have the ability to bring vibrancy and build others up. Used recklessly, they have the ability to decompose relationships.
It is a constant process of edification as we discard our pride and seek humility in order to be internally transformed. In Romans chapter 12, verse 2, Paul employs that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world, but are to be transformed by the renewal of our mind.
Imagine how our culture would change if everyone spoke with salt seasoned speech. We have the opportunity to be the change, in our social circles, workplaces and the wider community.
Through God, our hearts and minds can be renewed, thus our speech changed. When we speak with the intention of encouraging and sharing Christ’s love with others, we will no longer be able to partake in slanderous talk.
I suggest that controlling the tongue involves a lot less talking with more listening and thinking. There needs to be a constant effort to consciously process our thoughts before we speak as we consider if our words add flavour and preserve others.
Jessica is studying towards a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Auckland. She enjoys spending time in nature and reading a good book. Writing is her way of communicating with God, expressing creativity and processing ideas. You can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org