“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
We live in a world that’s all about flavor: flavorful food, flavorful conversation and flavorful entertainment. Salt is a primary seasoning; one valued throughout the ages that imparts a lot of flavor. When food is under-salted, it’s bland and tasteless. It’s the same way when we let morals slip, when we forget who we are and what we stand for, we too, become tasteless.
We’ve all seen examples of tasteless humor. It’s everywhere we look: plastered on billboards, projecting from TV and computer screens, staring at us from magazine covers and pages. We’ve even encountered tasteless people: perhaps the man cussing out his wife in a store parking lot, or that woman who always makes vulgar and insulting innuendos about past dating partners.
However, it’s all to easy to become tasteless ourselves. We lose salt and cease seasoning our lives with truth and goodness. It can happen in our lives, in subtle ways or big ways. When we don’t stand up for what is right, or maintain silence when someone challenges what we believe in, give into peer pressure to accept hook up culture, or gossip about a coworker, we slowly begin to lose our flavor. When we lose our flavor, when we slip into moral ambiguity, we don’t stand for anything, and we become like everything else in this broken world: dry, colorless and tasteless like the dust we walk on.
It’s ironic that in a world obsessed with flavor that we’re surrounded by everything tasteless. By trying to imbue scandalous and exciting elements into everything we see, the world has become tasteless in every sense of the word. Our Christian behavior and beliefs seem shocking because they’re so radically different than what we’ve seen around us, because although we’re at odds with tasteless structures, we definitely have a flavor. There’s no mistaking the flavor of salt - there should be no mistaking what we stand for in our culture. And there’s no mistaking that flavor is what makes life worth living. That’s why everyone pursues it culinary and other wise and why Jesus, more than 2,000 years ago, made a parable about the flavor of salt.
Also, Saint Paul advises us to “season our words with salt,” to imbue what we say with kindness and truth that can only come from Christ. What are the ways that we can bring flavor to our lives as Christians? Whether it’s an added prayer time, holding our tongue when tempted to snap at someone or gossip, or even respectfully explaining what we believe in when challenged, there are many little ways to bring salt into our lives.
Every time I’ve read the parable of Christians being the salt of the earth, I’ve been struck by Jesus’ blunt language. If you’re not being the salt of the earth, if you’re not living a Christian lifestyle, if you lose your “flavor,” Jesus makes no qualms about saying we’ll be trampled underfoot. “Trampled” is a strong word, but flavorless salt is basically dust anyways.