6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
A Christian’s speech, as much as his conduct, must befit his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our speech must not be like that of the unregenerate people. Our speech should never be channels of boasting, arrogance, lies, deceit, lust, profanity, hatred, curse, intimidation, violence, vanity, flattery, foolishness, idle talk, swearing, slander, gossip, or false teaching.
Our Lord’s speech was impeccable. There was never an imperfect or condemnable word that had proceeded from His mouth. In Luke 4:22, we have a record concerning Christ’s speech: “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” Yet, His enemies were “laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him” (Luke 11:54; cf. Matthew 22:15; Mark 12:13). In the end, they could not find anything wrong with His speech, and resorted to engaging false accusers against Him. Our conformity to Christ demands our conformity to His speech, hence the divine imperative: “Let your speech be alway with grace”. This is an exhortation to cultivate speech that is spiritually wholesome, fitting, truthful, loving, kind, sensitive, encouraging and gracious as well. Our speech must demonstrate the grace of God that is operative in our hearts.
At all times, we must maintain gracious speech. Gracious speech must be a habitual characteristic in our interactions with fellow men. In all circumstances of life, we must learn to maintain gracious speech. Whether it be a casual conversation with family members or friends, a stressful situation at home or work, a time of provocation and persecution, a time of Bible Study, a time of giving counsel, or a time of play, let us be careful to maintain gracious speech. Our speech should never be abrasive, rash, vitriolic or nasty.
Now, this does not mean that our speech must be “dripping” with undue words of niceties. But as Paul adds, it must be “seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”. Our speech ought to be not only gracious, but also effective like the seasoning effect of salt. As salt penetrates the meat to give it taste and prevent decay, so must our speech be reproving, correcting and instructing. We must speak wisely, with spiritual discernment, in order to answer every man appropriately.