Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other,just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:29-32
I am currently studying several list in the New Testament where we are encouraged to “put off” the old man and “”put on” the new man. We are to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4:24)
As a new creation in Christ our life should portray righteousness and holiness. Our words should be wholesome, edifying and give grace. If they do not then we are living under the influence of our flesh, not the Spirit. As one chosen by God we am called to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity..” (Col 3:12-14)
So what does this look like in our day to day? It means that our words will bring honor and encouragement to those we are speaking to. Our words will also bring honor to those we may be speaking about. It means that if we are not happy about the treatment of a friend, our spouse, pastor or other persons we will not share our grievances with anyone but God. NO ONE.
God’s is challenging us to watch watch we say at all times. Simply put, if we don’t have anything nice to say about a person we should keep our mouth shut. Period. If we speak, even if it’s the truth, but are sharing a fault or weakness, then we are not being kind, and we certainly are not edifying the person. If we have an issue with someone we need to speak directly to that person not tell others.
So often we think as long as it’s not gossip (spreading an untruth) then it’s okay. But God says that the new self will be kind, tender-hearted, compassionate and will speak words that edify and be filled with grace.
I want my words to be be grace filled don’t you? I want my words to show that I am spirit filled, not living in the flesh. I want God to shut my mouth if my words do not build up the one I am speaking to or about. I never want my words to make someone think less of another person. After all we need to remember that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, so if my words are unkind what is that saying of my heart? What am I telling others about me? (Matt 15:18)
One final thought. If you are in the presence of those who are bringing down a person or speaking unkind of them and do not say something then you and I are just as guilty. Our silence will speak words that we do not intend to speak.
So let all of us remember that God calls us to be different than the world and we should be willing to stand up for our brothers and sisters and speak words that edify, even in the face of those who would tear them down.
Oh Father let our words be few. Help us to speak with kindness, love and grace of all your servants. Never allow us to speak an unkind word. Help us to come to you when we have a grievance against someone instead of talking to others about it.
A few other verses for further study: “Put off…Put on or new self/old self” verses, but certainly not an exhaustive list. Col 3:1-17; Gal 5:13-26, Matt 16:24; Phil 2:2-5,14; 4:5-9; 2 Tim 2:22-3:17
Written By: Sharon Brobst
Sharon has been married to her best friend since 1983 and they have raised two sons who are both married. Her greatest joy are her three grandchildren. She is passionate about the word of God and loves to study. She speaks at various retreats, luncheons and events. Sharon currently is writing a monthly column for her church newsletter called "From the Pew". She volunteers at a Care Net Pregnancy Center and is currently working toward a certificate in Biblical Counseling. You can follow her at http://www.sharonbrobst.com or https://twitter.com/SharonBrobst