Yesterday, we heard Ephesians 4:29…
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
I say the beginning of this verse all the time…to my kids, myself and anyone else who will listen. I’ve heard some great messages about it and spent much time thinking of it. Perhaps the vision that has stuck with me the most regarding this verse is an explanation I heard that compared “corrupting talk” with rotten fish. The stink you would imagine with the fish is what best describes corrupt talk.
Different translations use different words – foul, corrupt, abusive and unwholesome are just a few I found. They all mean the same thing – don’t talk ugly to people.
We all agree on that statement, right?
Even those of us who sometimes use unwholesome speech can agree that in theory we shouldn’t do it. We shouldn’t say mean things, call people derogatory names or use our words to hurt others. The difficulty comes when we live our lives trying to not do something.
Don’t talk ugly. Don’t talk negatively. Don’t call them a name. Don’t tell them how upset you are. Dn’t explain how mad you have become. Don’t, Don’t Don’t… it becomes hard to think of what you should do in the face of all that you cannot do.
“Willpower is trying very hard not to do something you want to do very much.” – John Ortberg
We can only do so much through willpower.
Instead of focusing on what we cannot say, we must think instead of what we can do. Ephesians 4:29 tells us the rest of the story – as does most of Ephesians. We must not us corrupt words, but words that fit the need of the person and build them up. Words that convey hope, words that encourage creativitiy, words that heal wounds.
As we focus on doing good with our words, counting each one as a positive moment in the lives of those around us we will find it harder to find ugliness.
Do tell them how much they mean to you. Do tell them how hard they tried. Do tell them that you know they can improve. Do, Do, Do all that you can to use your words in a way that brings grace to all that hear.
What words do you need to focus on today?