Seasoning Our Speech

make this day great quote board

Words really matter. They have the power to both tear down or build up. They can encourage or discourage. Just as important, how we speak to and about outsiders matters. People will never want to be part of a community that talks down to them. I often wonder how appealing Christianity is to outsiders, based on what they hear us say about them. Peter tells his readers to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15-16 ESV).

Words are as important as actions. In fact, they are inseparable throughout the Bible. Both our words and actions are meaningful. How we respond to people will influence the way they view both us and God. As believers, we are representatives of Christ and his body. Are we attracting people to Him or are we turning them away?

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech be seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6). There is a lot packed into these two verses. First, our time is not really ours. It belongs to God. We are to use it wisely. Second, wisdom is essential. We need to “walk in wisdom” toward outsiders. That requires dedication to prayer and a whole lot of patience. Finally, our speech is to be seasoned with salt so that we know how to answer people.

So many people rely on their own ability, knowledge, or people skills. But this is not what Paul appeals to. Instead, he’s urging them to tap into God’s wisdom, the Holy Spirit, and to choose their words wisely. How we speak to the unchurched really, really matters.

Showing Kindness to Others

kindness on Malta

When Paul and the other prisoners were shipwrecked on the island of Malta, the islanders showed unusual kindness to them. They built a fire, welcomed them, and entertained them. Luke says that “they also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed” (Acts 28:10 ESV).

A few things about this story are intriguing. After a horrifying ship wreck, the prisoners managed to make it to the island unharmed. There were guards, so the islanders had to have known that this big group of stranded people were prisoners. But they treated them with unusual kindness. And that kindness was reciprocated.

These were pagan people who first thought Paul was a god then later thought he was a god. Paul healed a man named Publius’ father, who lay sick. Then the rest of the people on the island who were sick came and were healed.

So often Christians have a misconception that unbelievers are evil, corrupt, immoral, and so on. But this is a good reminder that there are a lot of kind people out there and that, as Christians, we should treat them with kindness like we should with each other. God blessed the Christians, prisoners, and islanders for those days that they spent on the island. We need to remember that God is the same today. He blesses our conversations and relationships with everyone. We should do good to everyone.

Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash