“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” vs. 29
Paul’s picture of Christian community seems almost utopian, almost too good to be true. We’ve grown so accustomed to coarse, bullying, and degrading talk that we are hard-pressed to imagine a world in which each word is carefully weighed and gracefully used. But some followers of Jesus do choose to use language to build up and not tear down. They refuse to engage in gossip or slanderous conversation designed to diminish and ridicule. They don’t use the cheap and gratuitous four letter words that the culture finds so fascinating, but strive for purity in discourse. Are they appreciated for their efforts? Not always! Often they are labelled as puritanic or naive–many people have grown accustomed to using words to wound and hurt–and they’re numb to filthy talk. But there is a better way to live–and the words we choose can be powerful tools for healing and loving. This doesn’t mean avoiding tough conversations. And sometimes we’ll be saying things others would rather not hear–that’s how it is when we speak the truth in love. But if we’re serious about repentance and change there’s no better place to start than with the words that come out of our mouths. As Proverbs puts it, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Thought for the Day: How often do my words wound?