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 4:29
Words are powerful things. The children’s rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not true. Words definitely have great power to damage and destroy. They also have power to build and encourage. They are powerful tools in our family toolboxes. Sometimes we overlook or misuse these tools, but we would do well to find and hone them. Proper use of words is essential for a happy home.
The key word in Ephesians 4:29 is “edifying.” It is derived from a word that means “architecture,” and it carries the idea of a building. Our words become “architectural structures” in our families. Some structures are eyesores, while others are beautiful. Near our home lives a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman. My sons love to drive by his house and gawk at his vehicles—several Rolls-Royces, a Ferrari, and a Corvette. While his cars are pretty cool, my wife says his property is hideous! For a man with so much money, his house is just plain ugly: the grass is unkempt; the lighting arrangement is bizarre and lacks forethought. Aesthetically, a structure either enhances or detracts. Isn’t it sobering that our words have the same kind of incredible power over our family members to build? They can create either beauty or unattractiveness. We should build up our spouses and children so the structure of their lives is envied by those around them.
Are you aware of the damage that words can cause? Consider three areas especially in which words can have a negative impact.
Comparison. We can hurl insults at family members in the form of comparisons: “My mom never did that!” “My dad was never that way!” “When I was your age, I actually had to work to buy my school clothes.” “My team actually won when I played sports!” Every time we hurl a comparison at our family members, we create an eyesore that can have a lifelong negative impact.
Ridicule. Ridicule is another type of insult: “You kids are lazy bums.” “You kids will never survive in the real world.” “If you weren’t so [fill in the blank], then I wouldn’t be so [fill in the blank].” “You aren’t a cook; you’re an arsonist!” It is wicked when we use our words in such negative ways.
Negativity. We can also damage our family members with negativity. It is so easy to complain and gripe. We tear others down when we share every negative thought that enters our minds. We must guard against surrounding ourselves with continual negativity. Television is filled with negative and depressing content. One preacher said that we should beware of the five leading causes of depression: NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX News! He may be right.
Our words can have a positive and eternal impact! Love is essential. Our spouses and children should never have reason to doubt our love for them. We should say “I love you” frequently. While we can never say it too much, we must show it also. If we say “I love you” but don’t show it through gentleness and care, our words are meaningless. Love always includes gentleness, peace, and safety toward those around us. We must say it, show it, and live it! Love is essential.
Praise is essential too. Words of praise are huge in building the lives of those around us. Our children tend to become what we praise in them. Praise not only builds their God-given strengths and abilities, it also enables them to overcome their sin-cursed weaknesses and failures. A son needs praise from his father for a job well done. Our God publicly and loudly declared His pride in Jesus as His Son at His baptism: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5). Praise is essential.
Encouragement is also essential. See a hurt? A weakness? A discouragement? Encouragement will help. Sometimes we are more encouraging to perfect strangers than to our own families. We should be more encouraging to our spouses and children than to strangers! May God help us all to perfect the art of encouragement.
- Edification carries the idea of building. What are some ways you can build up your family?
- Comparison, ridicule, and negativity bring destructive consequences. Which of these needs to be eliminated in your home?
- Strategize about ways to implement these three essentials: love, praise, and encouragement.
This chapter was written by Evangelist Dave Young.
This chapter is taken from our book “Home Improvement- Keys To Building A Happy Home“. CLICK HERE to learn more about this book and to place your order.