It’s Thanksgiving! The table will be covered in food and surrounded by family and friends. This year I’m hoping to have an extra helping of grace, with a little seasoning of salt! Here’s what I mean…
Colossians 4:4-5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders making the best use of time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
The word outsider stands out to me. Who is an outsider? My study Bible tells me that an outsider is someone who is not a Christian; someone who doesn’t believe what I believe. Paul says to walk in wisdom and make the best use of time and to make sure our speech is always gracious and seasoned with salt.
I have really pondered these verses. When I am with someone who does not believe the same as me, I really have an opportunity to listen to them & I am instructed to be gracious & make the conversation interesting. I think this is really practical information, because we all know some of the “Christian” stereotypes that are placed on us & many of them true. Being gracious means that if there is profuse cussing in the conversation, I let it slide, because they don’t even believe the same as me so I can’t hold them to an unfair standard. It means that if they dress different than me or look different than me, I remember that each of us are unique and berating them about anything will not bring them to Jesus.
These verses really set me free to love on my neighbor no matter what. My behavior, my speech, my actions – they all represent Jesus whether I feel like being a representative that day or not. Each interaction is an opportunity to show love or not show love. I can speak wisely or I can not. I can be gracious or I can be judgmental. I can be interesting or I can be boring & hurry through my interaction with that person.
The last part of the verse says, “so that you may know how to answer each person.” This implies that they may even ask me a question. I believe I have opportunities to open the door to relationships that can influence whether a person says yes or no to Jesus. I think all believers do. We are called to share the good news that has shaped who we are and what we believe. We will have less opportunities if we expect people outside our Christian community to act like a Christian & dress like a Christian and talk like a Christian before they ever get to know who Jesus is, what he did for us, and what he is still doing in our lives and in our community.
I know that Jesus is still working on me in this area of loving people, and I have hope that it will come easier the longer I walk with him. I have plenty of room to improve in the areas of grace and wisdom. I guess that’s just one of the many things I love about Jesus – he keeps on giving and refilling me when I am desperately in need. And he won’t ever stop.