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. Ephesians 4:29 NIV
One of the most unpleasant job responsibilities for me occurs while I worked at a chicken farm during high school. This farm had nearly 200,000 egg laying hens in cages. When they died I would have to take them out of the cage and put their bodies into the incinerator. If I missed them, the next day the smell would be awful. If I missed them on two days, the ladies would tell me they were not picking up any eggs on that row until that “chicken” was gone. Rotten and decaying is an awful smell.
The word “unwholesome” in greek is “sapos”. It is derived from a root word from vegetables or meat that is spoiled and rotting. It has a bad smell and almost leaves a bad taste in your mouth. What is rotten like this is now useless, worthless, not good for anything. This word captures the imagery that Paul wanted his readers to understand about words that are hurtful.
God is so gracious. When we do speak unkind or rotten words, He provides a way for us to make it right. We ask the person to forgive us. It takes humility to do this properly. Forgiveness shows value and honor to the person that you hurt.
As Jimbob learned, only you are responsible for what comes out of your mouth. Even responding to injustice or anger does not exempt you from speaking unwholesome words. Take responsibility for words of death and choose life giving words
A few thoughts to help
- When you think of a person by name, are your thoughts about them encouraging or spiteful?
- How do you practice speaking words of encouragement? It may sound a little strange at first, but look for opportunities to encourage.
- Unforgiveness is an open door for much stinkin’ thinkin’. Canceling the debt of injustice which you received, will open the door to change your heart and words. What is inside you will eventually come out…change what’s inside first.
- Memorize scriptures about love and speaking blessing.
None of us are perfect. We say things that hurt others, but we can change. Jesus will help you choose words that are life giving to others. I believe you can transform your thinking and your speaking. Let’s go speak words that builds others up that are listening.
Blessings Love y’all