Red - Week 4: Daily Reflections Friday, October 30, 2015
This week our daily reflections will be focused once again on one of the "hard sayings" of Jesus. The difficult words of Jesus that we're wrestling with this week come to us from Matthew 5:22 where Jesus said, "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."
There's this verse in the New Testament book of Colossians that I've always thought a bid odd. The Apostle Paul was writing a letter to a group of Christians in the ancient city of Colossae and he's closing it out at the end with a bunch of "how-to's" on what it means to live as Christians. The verse reads like this, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
When I was a kid I would hear people quote this verse and I would wonder what the heck it meant. The first thing that would come into my mind was the bottle of Season-All seasoning salt that sat among the spices in our kitchen. In my childish imagination, I would imagine someone about to say something, but then pausing to bust out the Season-All to sprinkle on their tongue before they started talking.
Honestly, I kind of still think that when I read that verse. It made me giggle when I was a kid, and I can't really shake the image. The funny thing is, that image is more true than I ever realized.
In the ancient world, which was the context for the Apostle Paul's metaphor in his letter to the Colossians, salt was used much like it is in our own culture--to purify and preserve food, and also to add flavor. What Paul is saying to Christians here is simply this, "Your speech should act like a purifying agent, it should preserve goodness, it should bring out the God-flavors in the world."
And further, the says that the purpose for having Season-All speech is so that you "may know how to answer everyone." What did he mean by that exactly? Loosely translated, he simply meant "When your speech is purifying and God flavor-full, you'll know what to say in any given situation to whomever you happen to be speaking."
In other words, when you use God-flavored speech, it doesn't matter who your talking to, you'll be able to say the right things to that person in order for them to taste God better. You'll be able to turn a conversation away from words that are destructive and decaying toward words that are full goodness and purity.
So, back to my childhood image of sprinkling Season-All on your tongue before you speak. What the Apostle Paul was proposing in his letter is exactly like that. If we want to be like Jesus, we're going to have to guard our speech. Before we speak we're going to make sure that our tongue is seasoned up with God's Season-All, if you will. We'll stop before we say anything and sprinkle some of that God flavor on to our words before we speak them into the universe.
Brothers and Sisters, may your speech be seasoned with God flavors today, and may your conversations be pure, preserving goodness and helping those around you "taste and see that the Lord is good." Grace and peace.