Skip to main content

Words which bring blessing and grace...

As a kid, mom occasionally retrieved the bar of soap, directing us to stick out our tongues while she proceeded to wash our mouths out with it.  It was usually the result of some form of backtalk or just totally "naughty" words we were not supposed to be saying.  Lest you think it is time to call the authorities on my mom, let me assure you a little Ivory soap in the mouth doesn't kill the child!  I made it all these years and never suffered anything but a little bitter taste to remind me the words I choose to use actually do matter.  Definitely, without a doubt, curse words were forbidden.  We just didn't say them.  Yet there were other types of words just as damaging - like disrespectful words said in anger against an authority in our lives.  I daresay there are times when our words are less than desirable - kind of like greasy dishwater in the kitchen sink.  You could get by with them, but they don't leave you feeling very clean - they leave a "film" of some sorts you just cannot get past!  

Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say. (Ephesians 4:29 CEV)

Paul instructs the Ephesian church to "stop all their dirty talk".  I don't think these believers were going around cursing and using obscenities as freely as they were using "praise God" and "Hallelujah", but who knows.  Really, what he was saying can be better understood if we look at this verse in the Amplified Bible:   Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.  Our list of the kind of words we speak begins to be a little clearer, doesn't it?  Let's break it down a little:

- No foul or polluting language.  I think this may actually encompass those curse words and obscenities we can hear bantered around by most sailors.  It also encompasses those times when our speech is just grossly offensive.  In fact, these types of words might be what actually is pictured when we say something is fouled up within a circumstance.  The words actually create a "dam" effect and keep welled up the negative stuff within.  So, in time these words actually cause this decaying process which leads to further words becoming even more polluting in nature.  I can definitely see why he starts with these!

- No evil word, unwholesome or worthless talk.  If I were to say the meal was not "fit" to eat because it was spoiled or just a whole lot of bad choices, this is probably what is being referred to here.  These words are actually unhealthy for us - they get us going in the wrong direction.  They are "good for nothing" kind of words.  Now, how might this manifest in our daily conversation?  It could be we just speak a whole lot of words which actually "clog the arteries" of our relationships, or that we just spend time saying a whole lot of stuff with little to no value, wasting both our own time and that of those who have to listen to us!

- Speech which is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others.  Now we are at the kind of speech we should be endeavoring to embrace.  Good and beneficial - this is definitely not the case with the types of words referred to above.  Beneficial words have at their basis the idea of being "helpful" - there is some advantage to them being spoken or written.  So, this type of speech is actually helping another to grow in grace, and moving them toward a deeper relationship with Christ and others.  We might think of these words as encouragement, exhortation, and maybe even a little counsel.

- Words fitting to the need and the occasion.  These are words spoken "in season" and with the right perspective.  There are definitely times when it is better to remain silent than to bring up something, right?  The timing is wrong.  When we consider these types of words, we are really saying we will bring our speech into alignment with the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow our speech to be directed by him.  When we do this, we find our timing is spot on and our perspective is clearer in the matter.

- Words which are are a blessing and bring grace.  The final reminder is to allow our speech to be a comfort or encouragement to another.  It is the type of speech which considers the needs of another over their own and allows their words to be continuously be bathed in grace.  In this type of exchange, we find "favor" being brought into the relationship.  These types of words actually help to grow us together.

So, in considering our words today, let us keep in mind the overarching idea of saying the right thing at the right time in the right manner.  If we do this, we will avoid many a calamity within relationship we would have done well to avoid!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,