“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.” Ephesians 4:29
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, and it’s a complete lie. Who even came up with that?
Without even thinking about it I can come up with a handful of times I’ve been stung by the words of others, and I bet you can too. I cried and cried the time a silly boy in 4th grade told me I should join the heavyweight wrestling team. Kind of funny now, but at the time?
Our words either encourage others or tear them apart, and we are completely in control of their prowess. That’s a sobering thought, especially when it seems like we’re talking more than ever today.
From texting and Facebook to Twitter and Snapchat, with just a few keyboard clicks we’re communicating with hundreds of people, often without thinking it through very much. The Bible cautions us countless times to be careful with the power of our tongues.
How much of what you say gives grace to those who hear? Gossip counts too. Would you say what you’re saying behind someone’s back directly to their face? Is it building people up or tearing them down?
Training yourself to speak carefully is a continual process, one that’s not always easy or fun, and it won’t be what most of your friends are doing. There’s a reason why gossip is called juicy – it can be fun to feel like you have the inside scoop!
But the Bible calls us to something greater than what we see in the world. Romans 12 tells us that we are being transformed by the renewal of our minds that we can know what is good. This transformation isn’t easy, but it’s beautiful, because it happens gradually as Jesus’ love becomes increasingly more real to us.
You see, the more we realize how kindly Jesus speaks to sinners like us, the more we are compelled to share loving words with those around us. We can love only because He first loved us. That is what transforms our minds and molds our hearts and actions, making them more pleasing in God’s sight.
Y’all, controlling our words is so hard, and if you’re trying to do it from any other motivation other than Jesus’ incredible grace, it’s even harder. If you’re just trying to follow rules and be a good person, when you fail, all you can do is beat yourself up. But if you’re striving to please God as a response to His constant love, you can turn to Him and the endless well of His grace when you mess up.
Even when a harsh word slips out, He still loves you, and that will never change. That kind of grace truly does transform a heart, it makes you want to go forth and live to His glory, to share His kindness and graciousness, even in your words.