Today we are going to talk about how, as women (and men!!) striving to be more like Him, we need to pattern our speech in a way that glorifies our Lord instead of profaning Him. We have all been around those whose words are like nails being pounded into the coffin lid; fingernails on a chalkboard; conversation stoppers; joy-suckers. When one sentence can quiet a whole room in shock or anger. I have always been taught that what comes out of your mouth shows what’s in your heart (Luke 6:45) – whether it’s good or bad. As believers in Christ, we are not to be one of those joy-suckers. We are called, instead, to bring joy, to build up those around us.
If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality and authenticity. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.
- conducive to moral or general well-being; salutary; beneficial: wholesome recreation; wholesome environment.
- conducive to bodily health; healthful; salubrious: wholesome food; wholesome air; wholesome exercise.
- suggestive of physical or moral health, especially in appearance.
- healthy or sound.
- of benefit to the soul
Synonyms- helpful, good, nourishing, nutritious
Since starting this post a few weeks ago (I didn’t write near as much as intended on vacation!) I have been listening to myself, and to those around me more closely. How common is it for us to encourage someone? I am ashamed to admit that even if I don’t speak it, sometimes my thoughts are not what they should be. And since it’s been so many days, I’ve also taken it one step further – how do people react to each other, in response to their words and general demeanor? This has included people working in restaurants and stores and wherever I’ve been. I have a friend who is very careful about how she talks about others – even in her hurt and frustration. It has been such a great reminder to me to try and do the same. The side effect of doing this observation, is that I grew to have less patience for those who speak without thought to the damage their words were doing – it started to leave an ache inside when I heard careless words. I have come to the decision that I want this ache to linger there, whenever I hear such words, as a reminder that words are precious and should be chosen with utmost care.
Eph 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Building others up according to their needs. Not our needs. Theirs. Jesus’ words were never intended to beat someone down but to lift them from their pain and suffering to life. Our words cannot bring spiritual life to someone, of course, but we can help them face another day or another moment. We can show them His love by our words and actions.
Luke 6:45- “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
This one worries me a little, guys. As I said earlier, I already know how often I can mentally if not verbally, criticize someone. Is that really what I want to be full of in my heart? Negativity? Criticism? I have had enough of that brought on me over the years that I certainly do not want to be one who turns around and beats someone down with her words just to… feel better? Why is it we find it so easy to be nasty? Sin entered the world of course, long ago in Eden.
Col 4:6 – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
I keep thinking of the bad habit we as a general people have – we start forming our answers before the question has even been fully asked. It is a by product of our self-centered society. But by doing this, we are basically telling that person that we don’t have time for them; that we are more important. Which is the opposite of how we are supposed to be treating others – with grace and thoughtfulness.
Prov 15:1-2 ” A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
Be gentle with each other. Gentle. Remember holding a newborn? You slowly slide your hands on either side of the little one, one hand sliding farther to cradle the back of their head and then you gently lift until they are in your arms. But still, you remain gentle as you shift one hand, possibly both, to have a firm but gentle hold on them. Picture your words being your hands and the person you’re speaking to, the newborn. Be gentle, friends. Be it your wife, husband, friend, family member, the rude person at the store, etc. It doesn’t matter who or what – you, we, I , have been called to be gentle in our words.
James 5:12 “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Honesty. Straight-forwardness. Adding extra words doesn’t increase your honesty or trustworthy-ness. In one of my favorite novels, the main character is told several times to ‘trust me’ by her bully cousin. As her friend tells her ‘you know you can’t trust someone when they have to tell you to.’ It hits me every time with its truth. Let your words be as they are. Be someone of integrity and wholesome speech.
A printable for you:
I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness, hospitality and authenticity.