Do you know anyone who uses salty language? As a pastor, people usually watch what they say around me, but every so often I’ll have a conversation with someone who simply doesn’t care. They just let the expletives fly.
I think we all know that one person whose language would make a sailor blush.
Actually, that’s where the phrase “salty language” originated. Traditionally, sailors who sail on the salty seas have a reputation for colorful (re: expletive-laden) speech. As a result, those who today pepper their everyday speech with naughty words are said to use “salty” language.
The way we speak says a lot about the way we were raised, the educational level we achieved and even who we are as individuals. The way we speak often affects how other people look at us.
The way we speak as Christians also affects how other people look at Christ.
When you sing your songs of praise on Sunday mornings at church and then cuss like a sailor the rest of the week, what does that tell your family and friends about your Savior and what he means to you? When you claim to be a Christian, but then fly off the handle at work or in front of the neighbors, does that make them want to know more about Jesus? When you flippantly throw around phrases like “Oh my God” and “God dammit” without thinking, does that help others to honor and revere the Lord of the universe who sacrificed everything for them?
Fair or not, our world judges Christ by the behavior of his followers. The way we act and speak as Christians can open and close doors for us to tell others about God and what he has done for us. When we lash out in anger on social media, when we gossip or whine or complain, when we say words that would make a sailor blush, it feeds the impression that Christians are all a bunch of hypocrites or that Jesus means very little to us.
That’s why Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Colossae, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5-6).
Salt is a preservative; it prevents decay. Salt makes food taste better. God wants us as Christians to use salty language, that is, to speak in such a way that helps preserve others in the faith and shows how wonderful God is.
Seasoning our conversations with salt means, first and foremost, openly talking about God with others and sharing with everyone we can the good news of the forgiveness we have because of Jesus.
But really, it goes deeper than that. It means that our everyday conversations should reflect God’s grace. It means being patient and kind when speaking to others. It means being understanding and loving when speaking about others. It means peppering our conversations with encouragement and positive speech.
What you say and do as a Christian directly affects how other people see Christ. So think about the words you say and how you say them. Let your conversations always be full of grace.
And make sure to use plenty of salty language.
– Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for over 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com. His new book, “364 Days of Devotion,” is available on amazon.com.