Salty on Facebook?

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.

Amen.

Your turn:

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?

22 Responses to Salty on Facebook?

  1. Loretta Eidson March 9, 2017 at 5:27 am #

    This is a very good, thought-provoking read. I’ve always been a peace-maker and avoided controversy. Peace-making is fine, but maybe my saltiness has been lacking in the controversy area. There have been times on Facebook, or elsewhere, that I pass over opportunities to disagree and point out what I know as biblical truths, simply to avoid an argument. Seems some people love to argue regardless. I don’t. By reading this I am challenged to pray harder and be selective on when, where and how to respond. Thank you for sharing, Tamela.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2017 at 6:57 am #

      Loretta, thanks for your insight. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think sometimes it takes more courage not to argue than to argue. Arguing with someone who’s already made up his mind only leads to more arguments, and hurt.

  2. Melissa Henderson March 9, 2017 at 6:10 am #

    This message is stirring a lot of thoughts in my mind. A timely message as a difficult situation with a friend occurred this week. Not sure if the friendship will be repaired and that brought tears. There are definitely times to bring the “salt” and other times leave it on the table. 🙂

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2017 at 6:58 am #

      I am so sorry, Melissa. Praying that the Lord’s hand, increased understanding and forgiveness, along with a (brief!) passage of time will heal these wounds.

  3. Joanna Politano March 9, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    My two main characters argue about this in my newest novel. In looking at the verse from Corinthians that tells us to speak the truth in love, it’s clear that he brings the “truth” part (to a fault) and she brings the “love” part (but often glosses over truth). So I think it’s important to strike a balance.

    Jesus was awesome at this. He always had a very true and honest answer to the difficult questions posed by the pharisees, but He spoke in such a way that it didn’t perpetuate further argument. Salt can flavor food, but think what it does to an open wound!

    • Joanna Politano March 9, 2017 at 6:58 am #

      Your post hits the nail on the head, though. The way Facebook has become an open minefield with everyone shouting out their opinions, often without much grace, many of us have shied away from what we should be doing–SPEAKING TRUTH! Thank you for the reminder, Tamela!

      • Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2017 at 7:01 am #

        Thank you, Joanna. I appreciate your points and I believe readers will be touched and moved by witnessing your characters!

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 9, 2017 at 7:21 am #

    This really made me think – I’ve been trained to bring salt to certain kinds of physical situations…which leaves the opposite side, one might say, in a pickle.

    But personally, no. I don’t look for opportunities to be ‘salty’ and would much rather offer encouragement where and when I can. If I can’t, remaining silent seems to be the best thing. I can’t change someone’s heart by talking, and can easily build walls higher.

    A heart can, however, be changed through example. People around me have seem me take in every stray dog that crosses my path, turning none away…and now those that in the past would have walked past a small and frightened soul will now open their arms, and at the very least bring that suffering creature to me.

    Or, miracles built to the stars, take a new and grateful dog home for life.

  5. Robyn Hook March 9, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    This reminds me of a question I was asked last week at my church ladies retreat. Are you salty or sweet? Only one person in our small group identified herself as salty and she considered her bold and colorful personality as a weakness. I kept thinking I want to be salty! We are called to be the salt of the earth. Not sugar that makes you fat and has almost no nutritional value. However, I do agree there is a time and a place and it’s more often with those you know personally. Thanks for this, Tamela.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

      Robyn, your comment makes me think of a small incident from my early teen years. I was around a few close family members when for some reason, I said, “I have too much personality.”
      My mother looked at me, askance.
      I added, “It gets me in trouble.”

  6. Jaime March 9, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    I love this post so much! I totally agree, we should avoid pointless arguments online. But there have also been times where I have felt called to address someone’s harsh comments with loving truth, and it has actually helped to calm the situation and bring balance.

    I actually have an article published in a christian magazine about the very topic of bringing salt, and finding that balance between truth and love like Jesus so expertly did.

    I have heard it best described as a tension we are called to hold. It helps me to picture the person I’m addressing as walking a high wire. I am holding both ends, one in each hand. If I let either the truth or the love hand slack off, the person in question will fall because the line is no longer solid enough for him/her to stand on. I MUST hold the tension tight on both ends for the person I’m dealing with to be ok. We must be absolutely committed to both.

  7. Carol Ashby March 9, 2017 at 9:03 am #

    Every one of my novels has a main character who is salt and light, but they lead people toward Jesus by living the agape kind of love we should all show as Christians. I write stories about human love and spiritual transformation, stories about how our faithfulness can inspire another to open his or her heart to God. My characters are uncompromising but never abrasive. That’s how I want to live as well.

  8. Kathryn Lang March 9, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    We had a similar discussion on a recent Twitter chat – but we we were talking rants verses riffs. They defined a rant as nothing but complaining and negative. A riff could start as a rant but always filtered down to a point.

    I try to stick to our family motto – if it’s not good, positive, or uplifting – then let it go.

    We want to flavor the conversation but not at the expense of the heart.

  9. M K Simonds March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    “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.” Hear! Hear! Well said. I had some thoughts about a year ago that I think kind of track with everyone’s:

    “I believe the Holy Spirit goes to great effort to expose our assumptions so we can examine them and evaluate whether or not they are true. We call it conviction and it looks like this: He reveals our assumption in light of Truth, usually found in the Scripture and confirmed through our brothers and sisters (Matthew 18:16, 1 Corinthians 13:1). The Lord has a beautifully elegant system, resistant to error. No one corners the market on interpreting the Scripture (2 Peter 1:20). We need one another’s point of view, and we are safe in numbers (Proverbs 15:22). Just like sheep.

    Once the Lord has exposed the error of our ways, He provides us an opportunity to change, which we call repentance. Conviction and repentance: the cycle of discipleship that is conducted frequently. It’s not difficult. In fact, one must steel oneself to avoid changing one’s mind in the face of conviction. It’s not easy. It takes a stiff neck. We owe it to ourselves and to one another to be honest, and just as important, to be trustworthy enough to provide a safe place to work the conviction-repentance cycle. We owe it to ourselves and to one another to speak the truth in love so that we may grow together (Ephesians 4:13-16).

    We don’t get to go around exposing every fault in every Christian, even though we see believers doing that very thing. Nevertheless, there are brothers and sisters within the realms of our lives to whom we have an obligation for frank dialogue. With these people, our people, we ought to be trustworthy and loving, yet unflinchingly honest. For many, if not most of us, speaking the truth is very hard. It’s so much easier to just brush it off and trust the Lord will deal with the person. Yet our candor with one another is one of the main ways the Lord said He would deal with us. It’s also a very hard thing to receive correction and not be offended. We lack proficiency with that exercise, a fact that often silences us.” (from One False Thing)

  10. Wendy L Macdonald March 9, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    Great post, dear Tamela. I appreciate the salt you lightly sprinkle in your posts. For me, my morning reading/quiet time is where I receive my main portion of daily salt. I love God’s Word–even when it points out where I lack love in my heart and attitude. The Holy Spirit’s correction is always lovingly given and laced with grace and hope. And according to 1 Peter 3:15, we are to sprinkle salt “with gentleness and respect” too. You do this well, Tamela.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

      Wendy, you are very kind to share those inspiring words with me today. Thank you.

  11. Renae Brumbaugh Green March 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    I’ve found it’s easier and more permissible to be “salty” if you use humor, and point any takeaway at yourself rather than others. So instead of saying “you” or “those people,” I might say something like, “I had to remind myself that (fill in the blank.)” Or I’ll share a funny story where something I did is the punchline. An example is when I flooded the bathtub, and my husband was SO patient with me, and then I said something about how it reminded me of how God is patient with his children even when they mess up. Don’t know if this would work for everyone, but it’s worked for me so far. I get to be uncontroversial and sprinkle some salt at the same time.

  12. Angie Dicken March 9, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    This is interesting. I recently heard a wonderful sermon at my church about being the salt of the earth (and the light, but I won’t go into that…), but I would love to share some of my notes as it might help when applied to FB conversations also. Here are some qualities of salt that might be good food for thought (pardon the pun):

    1. Salt preserves from decay-The Church is called to stop things from decay and make them flourish instead. For example, Do we walk into the room and stop the decay (gossip, bullying) or do we add to it? When we are on Facebook, are we bring about truth and love, or are we adding to the anger and animosity?

    2. Salt enhances flavor, it’s not the star of the dish–it’s meant to make things better. Are we the kind of people who bring out the best in others? Or are we trying to show ourselves to be better than others?

    3. Salt helps reduce bitterness-Do we make things less bitter or do we add to the bitterness? Do we make things positive? Reduce the bitterness?

    4. Salt cleanses and heals: it heals wounds not inflicts them. My pastor used racial tensions, political division as examples.

    Anyway, I think we are called to speak out in love more than division. We need to find the point of unity without compromising Truth or God’s calling. Hearts are more open to learning about God if they aren’t being scrutinized by a stranger, but loved by a neighbor. 🙂 I think you are right to be careful when posting, Tamela. Real life relationships are the best grounds for being “salty”. I am trying to be better about that too…I’ve gotten carried away on Facebook before…and I doubt I’ve been more helpful than destructive.

  13. Sharon Wilfong March 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    I see nothing wrong with speaking truth as long as we do it with gentleness and respect (1Peter 3:15)

    I don’t think name calling or put downs has any place in a conversation but that doesn’t mean we can legitimately discuss controversial views.

  14. Bonnie Engstrom March 9, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    I had an interesting experience the other evening. We were out with friends and met another couple by accident. When she learned my friend and I were both writers she told us about the script she was writing. Then, she said at least several psychics told her it would succeed and when. I had to walk away I was so upset. My friend just nodded and said, “Is that so?” Both of us are strong Christians, but my friend did the right thing I believe. Neither of us witnessed to the script writer woman, but I did give her my bookmark and encouraged her to check out my books. Hopefully, she will read some and ‘get the message.’ Sometimes it is more appropriate to be subtle and let God lead.

  15. Ethel Lytton March 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    Wow! That is something to ponder and pray about. I am an introvert who is also shy which usually finds me silent when in a crowd. I definitely need help in being salty so I can shed more Light.

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