You may have heard the saying about rubbing salt in a wound. This would be equivalent to “sticking the knife in and twisting it.” To rub salt in a wound is to make it worse, more painful, more negative… at least, as far as proverbial sayings go. In reality, maybe salt isn't so bad. Perhaps it even contains some healing properties.


When we have a sore throat, we gargle with warm salt water. Water alone will not do; it has to be salt water. The salt helps take away the soreness. When I had a tooth removed recently, I was told to rinse with warm salt water. This was to help with the tenderness and aid in the healing. I have had cuts, scrapes, and scratches, and after swimming in the salt water at the beach, I found them to be much better. It is as though salt is actually good for a wound.


I suppose the proverbial saying comes from the fact that pouring salt into a gaping wound could indeed be painful, much the same as pouring alcohol on a cut is painful for a moment. In reality, the pain for the moment is insignificant, even if it feels fairly severe. Why?

Temporary pain that results in permanent
healing is worth the cost.

We generally understand this concept as it pertains to us physically by the time we pass our early childhood years. Somewhere along the way, we learn the pain of taking the punch is worth it. We may not enjoy the temporary pain, but we choose to take the pain because of the good that comes as a result.


I am not so sure we learn this lesson as easily in regards to our spiritual life and character. The Bible is clear that trials, tribulations, afflictions, and suffering produce in us characteristics such as being “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” having “proven character,” producing “an eternal weight of glory,” or being “perfected, confirmed, strengthened, and established.” Yet, we run from, pray against, and make effort to escape difficulty or inconvenience in our lives.  

I am not suggesting we go looking for ways to make our lives miserable or painful, but I do believe we must re-think our understanding of trials and suffering. Joseph was a righteous man who suffered much, yet he remained faithful in every circumstance, understanding what others meant for evil, God intended for good. God not only shaped Joseph’s character, but He exalted him to a high position, and saved many people in the process, including Joseph’s own family.

We need to remember though a little salt in the wound is temporarily painful, it can do a world of good! As true as this principle is for our physical bodies, there is also truth in regards to our spiritual life. When trials or suffering for Jesus’ sake come, rest assured God is working to do something very, very good.

by Jimmy Aycock