Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (
Our words should be honest. But, they should also be helpful. You can be brutally honest. As a child I can remember having someone walk up to me and say, “You have big ears!” They may be elephantine, but there is no value in sharing that assessment! It is like the fellow who was asked by his wife, “Does this dress make me look fat?” who replied, “No, dear, it’s your hips that make you look that way.” He then could see nothing because of his black and blue eyes, swollen shut from the punch she gave him!
We are to be honest—and helpful—in what we say. Truth needs to be told, but we do not have to tell everything we know! Someone may respond, “I’m transparent—I just say what I think!” Perhaps you shouldn’t think things like that, when it comes to being demeaning about others. If you allow that prickly attitude to be nurtured in the soil of your soul, then you aren’t likely to stick others with the thorns of hurtful talk. The weeds of wicked words need to be uprooted at the source
Helpful speech is when GODLESS TALK IS SILENCED, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” (
4:29a). Our hearts are
corrupt—and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That is where the corrupt language spews
forth. But, the child of God has a new
heart—the Divine nature of Christ has been implanted by His indwelling
Spirit. The old, polluted fountain can
be plugged by the Cross, and a fresh, flowing stream of life-giving waters can
be spoken. If the vileness of foul
language is predominant, we should rightfully consider if the Cross has been
applied! Yet, even so, there is the
possibility as long as we are in this world of sin, and inhabiting this body of
death, that a trickle of corruption might leak out. Beware lest a trickle become a torrent! One of the first things I noticed about my
new birth is that a new vocabulary developed.
Helpful speech is when GRACIOUS TALK IS SPOKEN, “what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” In contrast to godless talk that is harmful, gracious talk is helpful. It is not enough to silence evil words, we must speak good words. Jesus Christ has put grace in our hearts, but we are not to be reservoirs—we are to be rivers. My life is to be a channel of blessing, and my words are often the pipeline dispensing that grace to others. Just moments ago, I e-mailed a missionary we support, living in a distant and dangerous place, a brief word of encouragement. It may be the sip of refreshing water that enables him to press on in a dry and barren wilderness of the pagan place where he ministers. Gracious words build up—that is the meaning of “edification.” Someone you know needs building up today!
Helpful speech is when GRIEVOUS TALK IS SHUNNED, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (
4:30) There are numerous
ways that we can grieve the Holy Spirit, but surely sinful speech is meant in
this context. He is the Spirit of Truth
who comes to build up His church, so if we speak in ways that are dishonest and
divisive, that grieves Him. He is
faithful to seal us as God’s children—and He will not abandon us. When our speech repels others from the
fellowship, how it wounds the Spirit! God’s
Spirit sees what even the struggling saint will become in the day of
redemption, and assures him or her of the end result. When I am too busy picking our failures and
magnifying flaws in my fellow church members, can I not see how that breaks the
Spirit’s heart? He is not a hoot owl, or
a shrieking war eagle, but the Dove of Peace.
Words that disturb the peace of the believer and beat the drums of war
among the people of God are grievous to Him!
That ought to grieve us and drive us to our knees in repentance and then
rise and run into the arms of each other in reconciliation.
I am taking the time to share these words because they are helpful! But, the potential aid of these truths will only become powerful as they are applied. My prayer is that I will be an example of this with my family and to my flock. I desire that as I encounter the lost souls in my world today that my words would be winsome that I may win some.
Is that your prayer?