Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph 4:29-32
I am studying several list in the New Testament where we are encouraged to “put off” the old man and “”put on” the new man. We are to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4:24)
As a new creation in Christ my life should portray righteousness and holiness. My words should be wholesome, edifying and give grace. If they do not then I am living under the influence of my flesh, not the Spirit. As one chosen by God I am called to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity..” (Col 3:12-14)
So what does this look like in my day to day? It means that my words will bring honor and encouragement to those I am speaking to. My words will also bring honor to those I may be speaking about. It means that if I am not happy about the treatment of a friend, my spouse, my pastor or other persons I will not share my grievances with anyone but God. NO ONE.
God’s is challenging me to watch watch I say at all times. Simply put, if I don’t have anything nice to say about a person I should keep my mouth shut. Period. If I speak, even if it’s the truth, but am sharing a fault or weakness, then I am not being kind, and I am certainly not edifying the person. If I have an issue with someone I need to speak directly to that person not tell others.
So often we think as long as it’s not gossip (spreading an untruth) then it’s okay. But God says that the new self will be kind, tender-hearted, compassionate and will speak words that edify and be filled with grace.
I want my words to be be grace filled don’t you? I want my words to show that I am spirit filled, not living in the flesh. I want God to shut my mouth if my words do not build up the one I am speaking to or about. I never want my words to make someone think less of another person. After all we need to remember that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, so if my words are unkind what is that saying of my heart? What am I telling others about me? (Matt 15:18)
One final thought. If I am in the presence of those who are bringing down a person or speaking unkind of them and do not say something then I am just as guilty. My silence will speak words that I do not intend to speak.
So let all of us remember that God calls us to be different than the world and we should be willing to stand up for our brothers and sisters and speak words that edify, even in the face of those who would tear them down.
Oh Father let my words be few. Help me to speak with kindness, love and grace of all your servants. Never allow me to speak an unkind word. Help me to come to you when I have a grievance against someone instead of talking to others about it.
A few other,“Put off…Put on or new self/old self” verses, but certainly not an exhaustive list. Col 3:1-17; Gal 5:13-26, Matt 16:24; Phil 2:2-5,14; 4:5-9; 2 Tim 2:22-3:17