By: Rich McFate
Okay, it was bound to happen, but I am sure I am not the only one that it has happened to by this point in our current situation. To tell the truth, this sin has defeated me many times throughout my life. Yes, I failed to follow the instructions that the Apostle Paul gave us in Ephesians 4:29
29 Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak]. Amplified Bible
Years ago, I thought memorizing this verse (not in the amplified version) would be a good idea to help me have a better control over the things I let come out of my mouth. The first to go was foul, profane and vulgar language. Those types of filthy words have thankfully been pushed way back in the selection of words I choose to express myself. I know that for others, bad words are not easily suppressed, so they keep trusting God and correcting themselves whenever they burst forth. For me however, I think the worthless words I find coming out are even more damaging than language deemed inappropriate in public. The Apostle James in his Epistle has much to say about the tongue, especially in the third chapter, but in chapter one we find this admonishment.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. NIV
So, here is how the Holy Spirit brings Ephesians 4:29 to the forefront of my thoughts. It usually happens when I am tired, stressed, frustrated or annoyed. Often, I have reached the end of my rope of patience. I say what is most likely a truth with a harsh tone or in a critical way. My words get pushed out of my mouth by uncontrolled anger or annoyance which lurk beneath the surface. Then comes the conviction, the regret and then usually an apology. I can’t think of one time when this happens that it accomplishes anything good and edifying in the building up of others according to their needs. The worst thing is that it is usually inflicted upon those I love the most. (Ouch!) My goal is use Ephesians 4:29 to prevent unedifying words and promote words that build up
Perhaps in this time of living under one another’s feet of our family members, you have failed just as I have. If you know you have failed in how you have used your words, don’t ignore it. Sincerely apologize the moment you realize that you blew it. Ask for forgiveness from the person and resolve not to do it again. Confess it to God and ask for His help in doing better. Trust me, if you make yourself keep apologizing and asking for forgiveness every time you fail, the hurtful words and unedifying ways you speak will move more quickly towards extinction.
In a book I read long ago, “Word’s That Hurt, Word’s That Heal: Speaking the Truth in Love:” author Carole Mayhall writes poignantly about this very topic. She brings to light the hurt that bragging, complaining, gossip, anger, and careless remarks cause. She shows us the great importance of learning to filter out hurtful words and attain a tongue controlled by God. A tongue that always seeks to accomplish good in the lives of others.
The Apostle James drives the nail deep when he says,
2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. I Peter 3:2 NIV
The reality is we will never obtain faultless perfection while we are here on Earth, but that is no reason to give up in moving that direction. Christians acknowledge the fact that Jesus is the only One who lived perfectly on this Earth. Sometimes, due to our frequent stumbling, we forget that we are supposed to train ourselves and strive to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can serve and glorify God as Jesus did. If you are reading this then you are likely one who desires to give more and more of your life into God’s loving hands.
If you have been hurt by the words or tone of words by another, I encourage you to give it to God and let it go. Withholding love or maintaining a grudge only comes back to hurt you even more than the original violation. If you find this post challenging, join the club. Perhaps we can all start with the instructions given to Thumper by his mother. If you know the advice and can identify the source then comment below.
I hope that you found this post informative and helpful. UNLOCK BONUS CONTENT by reading Ephesians 4:17-32. Reflect upon the many areas that God has forgiven you and the many ways that you need to forgive others
Beyond the blog comments, I know some of you reading this also have things you can share to encourage our church body. If you would like to make a blog contribution to GBC for consideration, please send your blog submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.