Freedom Of Speech
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
We hear people use the phrase “freedom of speech” a lot in our country, because it is part of our bill of rights. We apparently have the right to say anything we want and no one can stop us. Unfortunately, this means that people often say things that should go unsaid. Just because we have the right to do something does not mean that we should do it.
It is very clear from the third chapter of James that what we say can affect other people; both for good and for bad. With our words we can build people up or we can tear them down. We can bring comfort or we can bring destruction.
Paul encourages us to “let” (allow) our speech to be with grace. Graceful speech comes from the life of Christ in us. The Holy Spirit enables us to speak words of encouragement and edification. James tells us the tongue is an unruly member that we cannot control. This is true, as it can only be controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must allow Him to have control.
Nothing is more defining about a person than to listen to their speech. Not just the use of vulgarity, but the way one speaks about others; the way one speaks to others. Some people are always negative in their speech. Some people are always condemning in their speech. Some people are condescending in their speech. And this goes on.
As God’s people, we should be positive in our speech. We don’t have condemnation to share, but grace. All of this comes as a result of what is in our heart. We claim to have Christ in us, and we claim to believe what God’s Word says, but does our speech agree with that? When people hear us, do they know what we believe? Do they see Christ in us?
Speech that is seasoned with salt has a good flavor. Salt is used to enhance the flavor of the food. Speech seasoned with salt is something that people want to listen to. I’m not suggesting that people will always want to hear what we say, but they certainly should not be turned away by our speech because it is lacking in grace.
When people ask us about our faith or our relationship with Jesus, we should be able to answer them in a way that brings honor and glory to our Lord, and attracts them to Jesus.
Yes, we have the right to freedom of speech, but with every right comes a responsibility, and our responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit to control our speech. This is true freedom of speech.