There’s being honest, and then there’s being brutally honest. Speaking the facts in a way that are helpful, versus relaying them in a way that is harmful. It’s the same truth being spoken–the difference is in the seasoning being used.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(Colossians 4:6 ESV)
Hovering over Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians in how to walk and talk before outsiders–those outside the fellowship of blood-bought believers. As it relates to their walk, it is to be with wisdom. Concerning their talk, it’s to use the right seasoning.
And as I noodle on the spice we’re to sprinkle on our speech, I’m thinking that, rather than grace and salt being two different spices, grace is the salt. That grace is the seasoning which allows us to speak truth, even if it’s difficult truth, and yet present it with a nuanced, compelling flavor.
It’s the difference between condemning someone as a sinner and coaxing the sinner to see the Savior. The difference, when a brother or sister has been overtaken in a transgression, between kicking them when they are down by reminding them of the reality of their fall, and tenderly seeking to restore them as we remind them of the reconciliation available through repentance because of the finished work of the cross.
And that difference is found in how our words are coated–either with the harsh spice of self-righteousness and judgment or the preserving salt of humility and grace.
And the source of such seasoning? Well, according to Jesus, it’s our heart.
” . . . what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart . . .” ~ Jesus
(Matthew 15:18 ESV)
If our hearts are steeped in grace, then our words will reflect it.
If we know the reality of our own failures, and the blood of Christ sufficient to cover all those failures, it will permeate how we relate to the failure of others. If we really believe that we stand upon no merit of our own, but in the righteousness of Another, our expectation and acceptance of others won’t be found in their performance. Instead our desire will be to point them to the One who has promised that He is all they need to participate in the divine nature and that He stands at the door knocking, ready to come in, to commune, and to carry the burden of right living.
It’s the difference between the drill sergeant who demands, “Get your act together . . . work harder” and the shepherd who encourages the sheep, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”
Grace. It’s the salt. It’s the seasoning.
We want to be honest, but not brutally honest. Instead we want to truth in love (Eph. 4:15). And that is done as our words are seasoned by grace so that others would taste, and see that the Lord is good.
Because of the grace we have known. All for the glory He deserves.