High school Chemistry wasn't too bad, but I found the introductory college course in Chemistry to be quite challenging for me. It's been ten years since I've had a Chemistry class, but I wanted to share some facts with you that I was reminded of recently.
First, (for those of you reading this lesson) take a look at the picture below:
This is an image of a very brief explosion in a science lab. What's the cause, you ask? The element sodium placed in water! Surprised? I sure was when I first saw the picture and read about it.
Let's talk about two elements briefly. What do you know about sodium and chlorine? Let me share what little I know. The periodic symbol for sodium is Na and the one for chlorine is Cl. Their periodic numbers are 11 and 17, respectively. Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form (i.e., it always links itself to another element). Chlorine, on the other hand, is a poisonous yellow-green gas with a very sharp odor. Chlorine is what gives bleach its offensive odor. Chlorine was used as a gas weapon in WWI. These are two items you certainly wouldn't want your children playing with!
However, as amazing as it may seem, these two very dangerous elements of sodium and chlorine combine to form table salt (i.e., sodium chloride)! Salt is often used as a flavoring and preserving agent. We ingest it into our bodies daily and need it to survive. The element sodium is dangerous by itself, as is chlorine. But, together they form something very valuable and useful! That's pretty incredible, in my opinion.
So, what does this have to do with spiritual matters? Let me extract a phrase from Ephesians 4:15 and try to make an application for us - "speaking the truth in love." The apostle Paul exhorts Christians to speak the truth in love. You see, love and truth can be like sodium and chlorine. Both elements, when separated, can be dangerous!
Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, and is willing to combine with various doctrines that suit it. Love without truth compromises where God says: "Stand firm." Love without truth ignores sin and does not confront it. On the other hand, truth without love can be offensive. It can turn people away from the gospel. Truth without love is cold, hard, and often legalistic. Truth without love has very little influence for good.
It is easy to see that we need both truth and love combined to really have something that's helpful and valuable! When we have a knowledge of God's truth and a deep love and passion for souls, then we will truly be "the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13). If we speak the truth in love, we'll be able to preserve and show the flavor or beauty of our faith.
Colossians 4:6 reads - "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."