Date: April 13, 2023
By: Rikka B.
Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one."
This was the scripture verse that I was prescribed by a priest when leaving confession. The idea of going to confession is not so that we can go back and repeat the same sins, but it is something that we do as habitual sinners…keep sinning. This bothered me as I was on my way to confession. “Why should I confess this sin if I’m more than likely to do it again?...if only there was a tangible way that could actually help me change this habit!” These were the words I spoke to myself as I parked the car before heading into confession, debating my contrition.
The beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that we can always return.
Revelation 3:20 “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The imagery of that door is that the latch to open the door is only available to our side and not that of Jesus’. We go to Him and there He is waiting, every single time. At times I feel bad that I can’t be more like the woman in scripture after Jesus said to her, “Go, and sin no more”. She was epically changed and sometimes leaving the confessional doesn’t always feel like that. However, the Lord of all, knows our very hearts and accepts us, as we are, where we are. So much so, that He continually knocks, in hopes for an invitation to dine with him.
I chose to provide the last part of that verse “eat with him, and he with me” because I truly believe that Jesus loves food…and so do I!
So, after confessing being unable to tame my tongue, speech and tone, I was graciously given a tangible way to help me change this habit! The priest offered me this meal of words:
“Salt is used to preserve and enhance”
Words I have been chewing on for quite some time…almost 40 days to be precise. As Lent comes to a close, here are the ways in which I have digested these words.
Salt is used to preserve: Before refrigeration, in order to help food last longer, foods (especially high priced meats) would be covered in salt. To preserve is to aid in keeping something as it is or sustaining it. When salt is not used, things can spoil or go bad much quicker. This can also be, for our speech. Words have the power to make or break a person, and if we are responsible for those words, we can break a person that much quicker as well.
Salt is used to enhance: Any savory and some sweet recipes call for salt. Salt enhances other flavors. Salt can compliment or destroy a dish. When too much salt is used it can make something unpalatable. As with speech, a harsh tone or directness can leave someone feeling bruised or unsettled. This can leave room for lack of effective communication or misinterpretation. When not enough salt is used it can also make something unpalatable, by being bland and having no flavor. As with speech, if nothing is said or not enough is said with emphasis it can leave a person at a loss or misunderstood or outright unheard. It is important to still speak truth!
For a more in depth read of how Salt was attained and used for in ancient times:
Examen of Speech
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt [to preserve]”.
- When I speak, do I speak to uphold another person and preserve their dignity?
- When I speak, do I speak to preserve my own respectability?
- When I speak, do I tarnish another person’s dignity?
- When I speak, are the words I am saying necessary in the moment or only for effect?
- When I speak, what do I do to my own image?
- When I speak, do I speak to preserve a false image of myself?
- When I speak, do I speak to give way for humility?
- When I speak, do I speak charitably and in truth?
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt [to enhance]”.
- When I speak, do I speak to uplift another person?
- When I speak, is it complimentary, or does it destroy?
- When I speak, do I unnecessarily elevate another person? (Over flattery)
- When I speak, is it for effect for self gratification?
- When I speak, is it to gain words of affirmation?
Matthew 15: 11 “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
Leaving confession that day, I had full intentions on working on this habit. Though my speech may forever be under scrutiny, by His grace, as much as I like to eat, may the words that come from my mouth be just as sweet…or salty enough.