God’s Word tells us to be salt and light, but we often discover that it’s far more easier to be sugar and cream. It’s against our human nature to offend. We want to be liked. And to do that means we have to be nice, considerate, and friendly. Is that how the Bible describes a person who is both salt and light? I understand that the fruits of the spirit includes gentleness, patience, and kindness, but what does that truly mean?
Perhaps it depends on how you define “nice.” A person who is considered nice could be described as “agreeable, pleasing, and considerate.” The secular world defines a good Christian as one who is “tolerant” of the beliefs and practices of others. What is interesting is that Jesus never suggested that the essence of Christianity means that you have to be nice or tolerant to people. Jesus Christ himself provides a good example. On one hand, he is approachable, forgiving, and loving. On the other hand, he had a tendency to offend and upset people.
“In a profound sense he [Jesus] was a troublemaker. Were he alive today, I am sure he would be investigated by committee after committee (both from the left and from the right). Men would call him many things — some calling him the Son of God and others calling him the son of Satan — but no one calling him a nice fellow.” (Christian Herald)
Jesus was approached by a man who was probably considered to be very nice throughout the community. He politely called Jesus a good teacher and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus properly responded with a question, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” He then strongly intimated to the man that if he truly wanted to be considered “nice” and think that being nice to people will allow you to enter the kingdom of God, than you ought to think twice. “Go and sell all your possessions to the poor, then come follow me.” Jesus used salt to set him straight. He has a tendency to do that with people who thought that by being religious, they would be rewarded.
Jesus was a nice man, but he didn’t look the other way when the truth needed to be told.
“If we say agreeable things just to keep relationships pleasant and peaceful, there’s nothing wrong with it. Nothing wrong, and nothing right. Just plain nothing. It is precisely this nothingness which is so treacherous.” (Christian Herald)
Action and inaction have consequences. Ask any loving parent who disciplines a child, or even a good doctor who fails to diagnose. Whether confronting sin, false teachings, or even hypocrisy in the church, sprinkling salt is sometimes required. The light of truth is what expose darkness. Either way, the intent is to lead a contrite soul to their Savior — to provide a remedy for the consequences of sin. Only through faith in Christ can one find true forgiveness and eternal life.