Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. . . . Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:25, 29
Have you ever felt the sting of someone’s words? Or have you ever said something and immediately known that you had hurt someone you love and care about? Has anyone ever said something to you that was so powerful that it discouraged or encouraged you for a day, or perhaps even for years, afterward? Our words can be either the most beneficial or the most destructive influences in our homes.
How do we ensure that our words are well spoken?
We must be honest. Dishonesty always damages and destroys. Dishonesty plagued the families of the Old Testament. The serpent lied to Eve about God; then Adam and Eve lied to God about who was at fault; eventually, their son lied to God about killing his brother. Abraham and his son Isaac both lied about their wives. Jacob lied to his dad (with the help of his mother) and later lied to his father-in-law. His father-in-law lied to him about which daughter he could have as a wife. Jacob’s sons lied to him about their brother Joseph. Potiphar’s wife lied to her husband about Joseph. In every instance the lie resulted in great damage.
Lying is the beginning place for other sins. A man and woman will lie before committing adultery. They lie about where they are and who they are with. They lie about texts and messages on their phones. Lying provides a foundation for other sins. No wonder Solomon wrote that God hates “a lying tongue” (Prov. 6:17).
We must be edifying. Paul warned us in Ephesians 4:29 to keep corrupt communication out of our lives. This verse is a rebuke to filthy language. We should be careful not to cuss, take God’s name in vain, or use unwholesome words. We should caution our children about slang and inappropriate humor.
Our words have the power to cut deeply. This is also a major part of the admonition of Ephesians 4:29. Solomon said, “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword” (Prov. 12:18). Try this experiment: Get a really sharp knife, and gently place the point of it on your palm. Give it a little pressure, and see how much you can stand before you withdraw your hand. In the same way, it doesn’t take much for our words to cut. Unedifying and negative speech is corrupt. When we ridicule and demean others, we are corrupt. When we show contempt and speak to others rudely, we are corrupt. Oddly enough, many believers speak to their spouses and children in ways they would never speak to a stranger. We should be kind and gentle and loving and sweet. We should not raise our voices in frustration and irritation. If we do, we should immediately apologize and make it right. If we stumble, we can say, “I was wrong; I have no excuse; I am sorry; will you forgive me?”
Our words also have the power to undermine our Christianity. James wrote that “if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, . . . this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). Harsh, negative, angry, and bitter words expose a serious problem. Perhaps, and I say this gently, this may explain why some seemingly good families eventually lose their children.
We edify when we speak gently and wisely. We must learn to encourage and use our words to build. Solomon finished Proverbs 12:18 by saying that “the tongue of the wise is health.” When we speak, we are either healing or hurting. All of us should be careful about how we speak to those in our families.
We must minister grace. I love this. We are to use our words to impart grace to those around us. Grace is unmerited favor. By the way we speak, we are to minister God’s unmerited favor to those in our families. Ministering grace is also about speaking the truth in love. It is not necessary for us to correct our children in harshness. We are to minster grace, not anger and frustration.
- How would you rate your words?
- How would your spouse rate your words?
- How would your children rate your words?
This chapter is taken from our book “Home Improvement- Keys To Building A Happy Home“. Click on the link to learn more about this book.