“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Our marker for how we are is the way we speak, to ourselves and other people. Our words betray our mindset for good or bad. Whether we are talking with ourselves and reasoning about or situation and other people, our inner speech should be gracious, remembering we are heard by the Lord. We might think we can be “ourselves” in private, but it is too easy to be hypocritical. We think negative thoughts about others in our private places in our heads, and speak differently about them, as is socially acceptable. Which is true?
God sees our inner life up close and clearer than we do, and it behoves us to pay more careful attention to our private lives.
“Anyone who doesn’t stumble in word is a perfect person, able to bridle the whole body also.”
If we are in control of what we say, we are in control. This includes the private conversations we have with ourselves. It is difficult to patrol the various areas of our psyche. How careful we are and how persistent, betrays our efforts in godliness. We blow hot and cold and still our loving God holds us fast.
We must practice using the seasoning of the Word of God to remind us and teach us how we should be. Applying it to our lives and specifically our speech is our daily task. Watching our private speech will automatically improve our public speech and our general mindset. It is good to rehearse good conversations with people and have a good mindset at all times to help us to speak helpfully to people and not with rancour and bad feelings. The Apostle is instructing us that our speaking should be gracious and helpful to the hearer, and not destructive or encourage ill will or bad feelings.
This can be a difficult skill because there are times we have to speak plainly and point out the bad things that are happening around us, but that also is an acquired skill born of the Spirit of God. It is our attitude to others that is key. We speak to improve their situation and build the other person up, not to continually knock them down. Even as we criticise it is seasoned with the salt of the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”