Are you, as a Christian, the salt of the earth or are you just salty?
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus challenges His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matt. 5:13). He expects us to flavor the earth and season the world for good, not be flavored and seasoned by the world for naught.
The advent of social media has given just about everyone a venue to complain. Everything is a target of someone’s ire. Sadly, Christians are no exception to the culture of complaining that has evolved. Instead of salting the earth with the goodness of His word and the wisdom from above, we tend to join in with a chorus of complaints about this world. Is that really what it means to be the salt of the earth?
The urban dictionary defines the word “salty” as: “The act of being upset, angry, or bitter as result of being made fun of or embarrassed. Also a characteristic of a person who feels out of place or is feeling attacked” (www.urbandictionary.com). Sadly, many Christians have imbibed this vibe. Too often, Christians sound angry, bitter and shrill, rather than joyful, peaceful, grateful and graceful. In what way does such “salty” conduct influence the world for good? This is not to say that there is not a time, place and means to voice a concern about the injustices of this world. However, should not a Christian’s words be the voice of reason, the salt that changes the flavor of the environment around him, the light of the world? If our salt is just like the salt of the world, thus losing its flavor, what good is it?
One of the most frequent complaints of Christians is the way this world treats Christians. The more Christians are attacked, the more Christians complain. Yet, was this the example left for us by the original disciples (cf. Acts 5:41)? Was this the example set by our Lord and Savior (cf. 1 Pet. 2:23)? Disciples are governed by a higher standard and must rise to a higher calling. The purpose is not to prove ourselves better than the world around us. The purpose is and must always be to glorify God.
Still, the irony becomes even more tragic, when our ire against the world rises for things about which the world complains—temporary things, worldly things, carnal things. We have become so deeply immersed and entangled in the world and worldliness that instead of using our speech to impart grace to the hearers (cf. Eph. 4:29), we use our speech to share our saltiness about the world with the world (cf. Phil. 2:14).
This world might not be our home (Heb. 11:13-16), and we may just be passing through, but we need to remember the kind of sojourn our Lord expects of us as we dwell here. We must resist the influence and fight the temptation to become salty like the earth, but rather be the salt of the earth. Instead of being more like Babylon, let us be more like Him who died for us. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).