I love the interaction I have with my blog readers, and can usually address their questions in the comments section. But recently, what I considered an unusually provocative question was posed by a reader, Virginia, on my post on being noncontroversial on Facebook.
She said, “I understand the sentiments in this statement; however, I was born a contrarian, and usually, immediately start thinking about an opposite point of view. That is to say, if this post had been about reasons an FB post should address controversial issues, I would then automatically begin thinking of reasons FB posts should be bland.
Therefore, consider this: Jesus warned that his followers would always cause controversies, provoke adversaries, because he stood for the Truth. The question then becomes ‘Are we being effective followers and disciples if controversy is not part and parcel of our Christian lives?'”
I think she makes a great point. If Christians are so bland that we nod in agreement no matter what someone says just to keep the peace, or our popularity, or even our jobs, we lose our flavor and boldness. If people around us see just another “go along to get along” or “yes” person, we’ll look cowardly and ineffective. Why would anyone who’s not a Christian want to find out more?
Matthew 5:13-16 says, You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
This verse is the perfect reference to show that Christians should be good and true witnesses everywhere, in front of individuals or groups.
I also like Colossians 4:6 (ESV), Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Even a cursory reading of the Bible shows that Jesus values personal relationships. Yes, he gave speeches to large crowds. (Sermon on the Mount, anyone?) But most of his ministry focused on interaction with people he was in relationship with, such as Mary and Martha. He healed people one at a time. Of course his band of disciples numbered a mere 12, and you’ll notice he saved his saltiest speech for them.
Colossians 4:6 lets us know to be gracious while salty, so stirring up controversy for entertainment value is not what we are meant to do. Yes, the Bible is controversial, but are we to present hard truths in a public forum, outside of church, to those we know will disagree?
When I post on Facebook, my thoughts have the potential to reach over 4,000 people, and over 34,000 on Twitter. I doubt more than a tiny percentage see, read, or care about my posts. But when exposing thoughts to that many people, I want to be cautious. No doubt I have offended some and bored others. I hope to inspire a greater number.
I save the greatest amount of salt for those I’m in personal contact with, the people I have developed trusting and honest relationships with. And I expect salt from them, too.
Think about your relationships. How many people can you be salty with?
What has been your most valuable salty relationship?
Do you have a salty character in your WIP? Is he or she gracious? Or blunt?