Salty Ones

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Salty Ones

“Salty,” when used as a slang term, describes someone who is "angry, agitated, or upset," as well as someone who is "mean, annoying, and repulsive".

I’m currently enjoying some rest, relaxation, and some dental work in Mexico (in the Yucatan). While here I was invited by a local Presbyterian pastor to attend a Bible Study hosted at a Roman Catholic church. There were around 15 attendees, both men and women, most of whom identified as Roman Catholics. I know very little Spanish, but I knew enough to know that somehow the discussion had drifted into an argument among the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. The conversation had gotten ‘salty’ and the chief ‘salty’ one was the Presbyterian pastor who had invited me.

The gospel lectionary text for February 5th from St. Matthew involved Jesus’ describing his followers as salt. Jesus was identifying his followers as ‘salty’ people. In the sacred writings Jesus was not the only one to identify salt with his followers. St. Paul, in his letter to a church, reminds us an identifying mark of followers of Jesus is they are full of grace. Grace seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6)! In the same sermon, Jesus said the MEEK inherit the EARTH and a few comments later he says we are the SALT of the EARTH. Earth dwellers are meek and salty. Who are the ‘salty’ ones? The meek who gush grace, according to Jesus, are the Salty ones. 

Yet our cultural working definition of ‘salty’ flies in the face of Jesus’ definition. What is more concerning is the cultural definition of salty actually describes the flavor of many followers of Christ: angry, agitated, mean, annoying, and yes, sometimes repulsive. Why?

Jesus knows there is a tremendous temptation for us to be something other than what Jesus has told us that we are. The salt can lose its punch. Knowing the temptation, Jesus quickly reminds us we are not the salt of the earth because we are right or ever can be right. Jesus knew our attempts to always be right would lead us to anger, agitation, and ugliness so he tells us His law will forever remind us that we can’t be right enough or good enough. We need a rightness that exceeds even the Pharisees. 

The point of Jesus sermon was He is the only one who is 'Right'. He alone is the rightness we desire and need. It seems we fall away from grace into anger and agitation, and lose our flavor, because we always have the pervading need to be ‘right’ and ‘better’. We get ‘salty’ when our rightness is threatened. 

Jesus is not calling us to be right He has called us to meekness and grace. The Message describes meekness this way: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.” We are blessed when we are content with the beauty and rightness of Jesus! 

At the end of the Bible Study in Mexico the ‘salty’ pastor, who had invited me to come, apologized and sought forgiveness for his angry, agitated and ungracious words. It was in his confession of sin and desperate need for Jesus that he was truly and beautifully salty. He was salty not because He was right, but because He was wrong and was left with the only One he could cling too -- Jesus. He was who he was, no more, no less, with only His own desperate need for grace to gush out. In his confession at the end of the Bible Study he had shaken so much salt all over the surrounded table that everyone who was there left thirsty -- thirsty for Jesus.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Dean Hester wrote:
"They will know us by our love." If I receive the abundant, overflowing love from Jesus, I cannot help but pass along the overflow to those around me.

Just as salt adds favor to our food, our love flavors our dealings with those around us.

The "salty" term in the discussion above is opposite to the savory love from Jesus that we are privileged to pass along.

Mon, February 13, 2017 @ 3:28 PM

2. Brad Bresson wrote:

Through all the images of salty I used your point is the point I was making at the end. The Pastor's repentance, confession and love for all those around the table was the 'saltiness' Jesus was talking about. While the 'salty' he displayed at the beginning of the discussion was opposed to Christ's savory his confession he was able to convey Christ's savory love to not only himself (in his sin), but to the others around him. In the end he passed on the savory love from Jesus that we are privileged to pass along because He is our everything.

Mon, February 13, 2017 @ 5:04 PM

3. Dennis wrote:
While in the military we used the term 'old salt' for the sailor that had been in for a long time. He was the guy that no one was close too, most avoided, some even feared. He was usually angry, gruff and at many times rude, an under achiever in leadership. But when the seas got ruff, he was the one we circled around. His experiences would help calm us and make us strong, help us survive the storm. When asked about his strength, he would usually comment I'VE been through hell and high water when it's my time to go it's my time to go.

I often times feel like an 'old salt' knowing the hell and high water of life is not in my hands. The eb and flow of life will make me stronger, will help me realize 'i am not in control. This helps me understand others when they are angry, gruff and rude. I can give the same grace that was given to me and love them the same way I've been loved. Grace(Jesus) pass it forward.

Tue, February 14, 2017 @ 5:25 AM

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