Yin and Yang. Black and White. Discipline and Reward.
Our lives often seem to be held in a balance. Every day we have a series of choices to make that govern the path of our lives.
The same is true in our communication. In the field of interpersonal communication, we are aware that people face opposites every day, but they occur in a "both/and" format. For instance, at times I want to be with my partner, while at the same time I want time apart from my partner. I want to be with you, but I want time alone. These dialectics, as they are called, occur in various parts of our relationships, and between those in relationship and their social world.
We see evidence of this "both/and" concept in today's verse: "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Colossians 4:6) that speaks directly to the concept of opposites presenting a choice in our lives.
Let's unpack this a bit and see how we can live Paul's direction. According to Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, "Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, and keeps it from corrupting."
My New American Standard Bible (study version) says that the salt is used for preserving, as in with meat.
In looking at these two sources, it seems that our words should be both sweet and salty. I'm picturing a good piece of ginger-pistachio chocolate bark right now! Lots of salty pistachio with sweet, tangy ginger wrapped up in dark chocolate. Can you feel all those tastes and textures?
The way we talk with people should be just like that. We should be sweet (gracious, kind, loving, understanding; think Proverbs 4:7 - Wisdom is the main thing; Therefore get wisdom; And in all your getting, get understanding.) We should also be salty (lively, preserving, life-giving, ready to give an account for what we believe, wholesome, filled with Truth).
We can be both at one time. We can speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) in all that we do. When we do this, we will know how to answer each person. Too often, I think I am trying to come up with the "right" answer, instead of the answer that is both sweet and salty - and in line with what God wants - the truth in love. When we focus on answering the way we learn from Colossians and Ephesians we will know what to say...whether to our spouse, kids, or friends.