Words, words, words. We use them every day. And God has quite a bit to say about our words.
Our words can build up or tear down. They can be kind or bitter. They can bring God glory or bring Him shame.
Today in Sunday School we talked about not grieving the Holy Spirit by sinning, and one of the ways we grieve Him is by using “corrupting communication.”
Ephesians 4:29,30 is one of those extreme “never” verses. Never let this happen.
“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. And grieve not the Holy Spirit…”
I can’t think of anything that I would actually want to be defined as corrupt. A corrupt file? A corrupt accountant? A corrupt home? No, thank you. There is nothing attractive about something that is corrupt. And lips and words are no exception.
What are some synonyms for corrupt? Rotten, useless, depraved.
We are talking about words that tear another person down, or build ourselves up at the expense of another. It also encompasses thoughtless, backhanded comments that hurt or belittle another person.
God’s word says that out speech should have a purpose. To build up and edify.
Anything that falls short of that goal grieves the Holy Spirit.
I often tell our teen girls that when you use your lips as a tool to slander or tear another person down, you are never more like Satan. When you encourage and edify another sister in Christ, you are never more like Christ.
We have ALL kinds of excuses for our sinful speech, don’t we? Excuses ranging from “Oh, it just slipped out” to “I have PMS.”
But sinful words have a sinful root. A sinful heart. We hate to admit this, because it is so much easier to make excuses or tell people about all of our extenuating circumstances. We love to blame others and claim our own goodness.
But we can never blame another person for something sinful that came out of our own lips. We need to own our words. And when we have grieved the Holy Spirit and torn down another believer, we need to make that right on a vertical level (God) and on a horizontal level (person you offended.)
When you find yourself in conflict, how is your speech?
A Facebook friend had this as his status this week:
“Conflict is especially effective in breaking down appearances and revealing stubborn pride, a bitter and unforgiving heart, or a critical tongue… It is important to realize that if you do not glorify God when you are involved in a conflict, you will inevitably glorify someone or something else. By your actions you will show either that you have a big God or that you have a big self and big problems” (Ken Sande from his book The Peacemaker).
If you find yourself wishing that you didn’t have to deal with this sin nature, and you are discouraged by battling your tongue once again, remember this:
God has given us all we need to live for his glory. 1 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
Do you find yourself struggling? We all do.
Do what it takes to avoid this sin. This might include separating yourself from people who tempt you to gossip, recording yourself during the day to evaluate your tone of voice with your family, taping scripture near your telephone or computer, or just plain limiting the amount of words that come out of your mouth.