Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:6

My boys have reached the age where they are beginning to discover and understand “cuss words.” So watching movies and listening to music is really fun!

“This song has the ‘H’ word, daddy.”

“I know, but they were talking about the actual Hell, so it’s not a cuss word.”

“He just said a bad word, didn’t he?”

“Yep, now just don’t repeat it.”

Every kid goes through that phase of figuring out which words are off-limits. And yes, we’re told not to let any “unwholesome talk” come out of our mouths. But if I’m honest, I’m a lot more concerned about how our words affect others than about the specific words we consider taboo. Not that I want my boys to think cussing is ok. I just would rather place the emphasis on being encouraging and uplifting to others and not just saying every mean thing that comes into their heads.

The truth is we can give Christ a bad name with the words we say and how we say them. Jesus told us the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. James told us no one can tame the tongue, and it’s hypocritical to praise God and curse our fellow man. Paul told us to speak the truth in love.

In my observation, non-believers aren’t turned off from the Gospel by a Christian who cusses occasionally – although we shouldn’t make it a habit. They are turned off by Christians who get into arguments and shouting matches online, who are offensive and unsympathetic in the things they say.

Our conversations, especially with non-Christians, should be full of grace and seasoned with salt – words that preserve and improve rather than degrade and tear down. Right before this verse Paul tells us to be wise in the way we act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity.

Christians, are we making the most out of the opportunities we have? Are our social media posts full of grace and seasoned with salt? Because the world is watching. Our angry tirades could be screen-shotted and posted on Reddit for all the world to see. We must do better for the sake of the kingdom.

Speak life. Speak truth. Speak love. Speak Christ.