Let your speech always be gracious, season with salt.
This one is tough for me. I’ve got a pretty quick, sarcastic, and mean mouth. I catch myself wanting to say mean things sometimes and judge and let my mouth run and sometimes, I do. This part convicts me because what I see here is Paul’s conclusion to how we can best make ourselves on mission and he says it about your words. At the end of the day, a lifetime of community service doesn’t bring people to Jesus. I can act good, and I can share the gospel, and if the same mouth that talks about how loving and gracious Jesus is then turns around and calls my boss a ‘douche’, well…. That’s not gonna work. Not in the “walk wise and be on your best behavior” kind of way, but in a very real Jesus should change my heart about things like the kind of way.
There are lots of excuses for why we allow it to happen. “Everyone does it.” “People just need to blow off steam.” My personal favorite, “Jesus called people names, look at how he talked to the religious elite!” You clearly missed that he did this to their face in a loving and compassionate way and then went on to die for their sins and plead “Father, forgive them”, but it’s the same thing, right?
It’s the easiest to do this when it’s not a “real” person, but a famous one. When we find ourselves talking about an opposing political figure, or a celebrity, or some youtube sensation, or even the “cash me” girl. It’s easy when they aren’t real people and we can make characters of them, but this just makes it easier for us to do it to the people closest to us. We slander, and speak poorly, and say judgmental things, and then turn around and talk about how Jesus loves everyone.
Paul says the easiest way to tell if you’ve started focusing on something other than Jesus and whether or not you’re truly looking towards the purpose we have in our new life in our language. Our words tell the story.
Are your words gracious? Are they seasoned in salt? Does the way you answer people bring them closer to Jesus?