Let no corrupt 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. – Ephesians 4:29
Growing up you may have heard or even used the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” However, we know that this is not true. Words do hurt. In fact, I am sure it would not be hard for you to remember words that hurt or wounded you in a profound way. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Words can be used to encourage and build up, create beauty and unity or our words can be used negatively to discourage and wound others. It is easy to forget how powerful our tongues are, and the profound effect they can have on others. It is good to remember that we are created in the image of God, whose words have great power! In the book of Genesis, God’s speech creates life. Although our words cannot actually bring things into being, they do, nevertheless, have a profound and lasting impact on our lives.
1 Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” Controlling your tongue not only protects the hearts of others, but it also pleases the Lord. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” The speech that comes from our mouths can please and glorify God, and bring life to others. Psalm 15:1 says, “A gentle tongue is the tree of life,” and Psalm 16:24, “Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” As we embrace positive speech, we can speak well of others, which results in life giving grace, and we also bless and please God through good words. Therefore, gracious and kind words promote Christian unity as brothers and sisters are built up, encouraged, and loved. Isn’t it eye-opening and humbling to be reminded of the power your tongue holds each day?
In Ephesians chapter 4:29-30, the Apostle Paul talks about embracing positive speech as a follower of Jesus. He says, “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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Our words not only have the potential to damage the lives of others, but also to grieve the Holy Spirit. The title of Trish Dennison’s 2010 book Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Hurt Forever is a true statement. In a moment, the words we speak can bless, or they can harm someone, and our words can glorify or grieve the Holy Spirit of God. May we be quick to repent of negative speech, and may we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak words that bring life, promote unity, and glorify our heavenly Father.
Lord, please forgive me for the ways in which I have used negative speech to hurt others. I specifically repent of ________________________. And I ask You, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, to transform my heart to be more like Jesus, and to have self-control and discernment so that my words may glorify You, build others up and promote Christian unity and love. I ask specifically that You would help my words to encourage ________________________. In the name of Jesus I ask, Amen.
Ministry Fellow, CU Vita
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