“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Matt 5:13 NIV).
What does it mean that we are the salt of the earth? Salt at the time was a form of currency. It was valuable, nutritious, and flavorful. It also had healing properties. As followers of Jesus Christ we have value. We possess and distribute God’s love and healing which is essential for life. I’m sure we’ve all seen what a life without love looks like and the damage it can cause. Love needs to be yielding and accepting but it also needs to be firm. If you see a child reaching for a hot stove or about to run into traffic you yell at them to keep them from harm. A reprimand even done in love can hurt, like putting salt in a wound. But the salt disinfects so healing can begin.
Proportion and application are crucially important in this process. Salt, no matter how good or necessary, won’t help a wound if you keep grinding it in. Once the problem has been addressed and the area is disinfected it needs time to heal. The results may not be, and most likely won’t be, immediate. If you confront someone in love and they don’t automatically agree with you don’t keep throwing it in their face. Be gentile. Have tact. The reprimand will hurt enough; don’t make the healing harder than it has to be.
Where is the line between having the courage to confront someone you love about a wrong and using it to punish or manipulate them? I wish I had an answer for that. I tend to be on the non-confrontational side. I may let things slide that should be confronted for fear of hurting the other person or myself. My salt gets pretty bland.
The great part about being a follower of Jesus and not actually salt is that when salt loses its saltiness it’s useless and can’t be made salty again but if we lose our love or “healing properties” God can revive them in us and make us “salty” again. Life is a learning process and sometimes it gets messy and people get hurt but God is a great physician and knows how to facilitate healing.