Colossians 4:6a“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt…”
Have you ever noticed how you talk? I mean the words that you use. Sometimes we encourage people with our words, sometimes we discourage them.
Paul tells us, basically, to watch our words. We too often say things to people at church. Too often we say things to people at work. Too often we say things to people in our neighborhood. And, sadly, too often we say things at home to our spouse, our parents, our children; things we ought not to say.
We might say things out of anger. We might say things through frustration. We might say things because of jealousy. But we are the ones who should know better. We are the people that have been redeemed, the people that have been forgiven, the people that have become a new creation. But we too often act like the old creation.
Why are words important? First, they convey ideas. Words have meaning and as such the words we choose convey what we are thinking and/or feeling.
Second,words affect others. I don’t care if we sang that old song of sticks and stones, because it wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. Words can and do hurt. Think about what happens if someone you don’t even know calls you “stupid.” We get our “bristles” up. When people we don’t know swear at us, we get angry. And we don’t leave it there. We continue to think about those words later in the day,week, month, etc..
And that is from people we don’t even know! What does it do to us when we hear things from people we know and care about.
What about gossip? Is it any wonder why God condemns gossip? It normally damages a person’s reputation. Think about how much and often God condemns both gossip and slander and equates them as a similar thing because all to often gossip is something untrue and affects many people.
Psalm 101:5“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy.”
Proverbs 10:18“Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”
James 4:11-12“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
I Peter 2:1“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking (slander)”
Paul warns that in the last days;
II Timothy 3:3“Unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good”
And he gives as part of the requirements for a Deacon that:
I Timothy 3:11“Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.”
Because of the power of those poisonous words, it has become one of the chief strategies of the enemy to divide relationships and destroy the mission of the church.
Then there is this ominous warning from Jesus:
Matthew 12:36“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
And those are “idle” words, not even words that we have given much thought to. And if we are held to account for the “idle” words, how much more for the intentional words?
As Christians we always need to have our speech “seasoned” with grace. Make certain at home, work, neighborhood and church, our words be properly“seasoned.”
As for the “water cooler” talk: While we may not actually be involved with speaking the words around the “water cooler,” we should not even be listening.