The Salt of Friendship

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Have the salt of friendship among yourselves, and live in peace with one another. Mark 9:50

This is the end of the verse in Mark’s Gospel. The beginning of it Jusus says, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? It is salt that gives flavor to food. Salt also preserves foods. Both of these are qualities of friendship as well. It is our friends that add spice to our lives, and it is friends that support us, indeed, preserve us, through their love, loyalty and trust.

We have all had the experience of having been betrayed by one who we once trusted as a friend. Why they betrayed us does not matter as much as the pain of the injury itself. There are few things in the world that hurt more. Worse yet, we may have betrayed a friend ourselves. In either case, the reality is that the relationship is damaged, if not destroyed. The truth, theologically speaking, is that we do this to God every time we sin.

Jesus’ question is important here, “…if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?” Jesus is the answer to his own question, of course. Only forgiveness can bring back the saltiness. Forgiveness is not easy, nor is it free, but when it is honestly and humbly given and received, the old salt can be made new again. This is what Jesus did for all of us. And it is his final command to us to, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Friendship is the basis of all love. It is the soil out of which all love grows and matures. Let us, then, live in peace with one another and in doing so we will be honoring Jesus’ words to us “You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:15

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.