Colossians says “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.”
The other night someone said to me, “Most people’s words are either all grace or all salt, having both is the tricky part.”
Indeed. The whole verse says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
When it comes to dealing with people, knowing how to answer every man, it requires grace and salt.
People who talk with only grace can’t stop giving compliments, never point out any fault or correction. They will answer every man with smooth words, flattery (which always implies lies), and nice sounding nothings.
Speaking always with grace may be a fine way to win friends, but probably not an effective way to be of much use to anyone.
People who talk with only salt get on every last nerve. People who are beat down tend to be the ones who need grace, if you pour salt on those who are beaten down, it’s not helpful. Salt in wounds is not a friendly experience.
Salt tends to be used to take the proud down a notch. It is able to speak truth into a situation where the truth may not be readily received. Vincent’s Word Studies says “Both in Greek and Latin authors, salt was used to express the pungency and wittiness of speech.”
I like the idea of salt representing wit. I like wit. But too much wit is irritating, but just the right amount can allow truth to break through. A word fitly spoken is a thing of beauty.
Grace and truth go together and I think truth is probably the salt Paul has in mind. Truth lasts, it preserves, it adds flavor, it keeps it real. Grace understands that salt can hurt wounds, that too much salt spoils flavor, so grace tempers salt amounts.
Be gracious to people, but know when to add a little salt. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with wit.