“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” -Colossians 4:5-6
Being kind to those outside the church is a command of Christ. To be gracious in the way we talk to them, kind and humble in our stance toward them, even stating biblical truth or opinions on life in a non-combative, caring way. We don’t lean forward like a pikeman in a charge to battle, but we walk and talk gently like a messenger.
Kindness in our wise walk in life is against what comes naturally to us (Galatians 5:20). To keep in step in our wise walk in the Spirit who gives us gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-25) means we must have new desires. Naturally, we desire to win debates. To be right. Yet, the goal of our conversations or persuasion of others in biblical truth or opinions on life is to glorify God. We glorify God by having our speech gracious, seasoned with salt, so we know biblically wise answers to each person.
The wisdom Jesus commands us to walk in must have a sense of rest and peace to our hearts. Not angry, not anxious, not hostile, not “hyped up.” Our new heart has a calmness from which we speak. If our heart treasures Christ, we receive peace, joy, gentleness, wisdom to speak from the abundance of our hearts. If our heart treasures self, we will even fight for biblical truth with unwise fierceness and display Christ as hostile and bitter. Our Lord Himself called us weary sinners to come to Him for He is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). If you lack wisdom in your walk toward outsiders, ask in prayer for wisdom (James 1:5).
The follower of Jesus is to speak gracious and salty; in other words, founded in God’s grace and possesses a warm, inviting character. Not from a sharp personality that pushes people away to protect yourself, but warm and open to outsiders. Outsiders should hear gracious words and smell the aroma of the love of Christ (II Corinthians 2:15) which fills your heart, be attracted to tasting and seeing that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), leaving judgment to God by the very same aroma rather than from a hostile stance or tone in our speech.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). May we be found faithfully wise in our walk, gentle and lowly in heart, gracious in our speech to those living in darkness, where we ourselves once were but by God’s grace are no longer.
Heavenly Father, search our hearts, examine and confront any hostility to Your wisdom. May our tongues be gentle and not sharp or a flame. We are Your messengers of Your gospel. Grant us wisdom. Make us useful by Your grace and use us for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.