Watch Your Mouth
Read Ephesians 4:29-32
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. 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 one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
How have you seen words tear people down?
I’ve seen some posts on social media that said, “I love Jesus but I cuss a little.” Apparently, you can find this slogan all over from coffee cups to T-shirts. Now, I am not trying to be legalistic. But it seems like some Christians are taking something lightly that we were advised to steer clear of. Does cussing hurt anyone? Maybe or maybe not. It depends on how it’s used.
But Paul says that we should only have talk come from our mouths that “is good for building up” and “gives grace to those who hear.” I have been challenged lately to watch my mouth to ensure that my speech is constructive. If I am talking, my words should serve the purpose of building up. They should edify, encourage, and instruct. They should always be full of grace.
It’s not just cussing or filthy language that we need to be aware of, though. We need to be aware of what is in our hearts. Matthew 12:34 reminds us that the mouth speaks whatever the heart is full of. That’s why Paul says to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. If we are harboring these in our hearts, they are going to spill out at some point. Most likely in the form of hateful, hurtful words that are aimed at the people around us.
When kids say cruel words on the playground and bully others with their speech, it is a heart issue. When someone speaks bitterly to a friend, it is a heart issue. When a co-worker seeks to slander or smear the name of another through gossip and lies, it is a heart issue. When you scream and yell insults in anger at anyone, it is a heart issue.
Remember, Paul has been saying that we should put off our old selves. If your old self swore like a sailor, that is not consistent with your new life in Christ. If your old self gossiped and spread rumors, that is out of character with the heart of Jesus. Put all corrupt, offensive, and pointless speech far from you and focus on speaking out of the kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness that you have received from Christ.
Jesus, put a guard over my mouth. I only want to speak words that serve a purpose. I want my words to glorify and edify You. Please forgive me for speech that hurts others and doesn’t honor You. Amen.