I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Diana Rose (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“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.” (Ephesians 4:29 )
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths.” This is a pretty straightforward command. When you open your mouth to talk, do not allow corruption to come out. The nuance of the command is in the word corrupt. My go-to definition for corrupt talk is name calling, foul language, or lewd comments. But that is not all that this verse is addressing. We need the whole verse to get the full meaning of corrupt speech.
“But only such [talk] as is good for building up.” This sharpens the definition of corrupt speech. Not only are we to use words that are clean and righteous, but we are to use words that encourage and build up. When I correct my husband's grammar or critique the way he executed a task I am not building him up. I am building myself up and making him feel inadequate. When I use sarcasm with my children I am not using speech for their good. I am being passive-aggressive, jabbing them instead of supporting them. Criticism, sarcasm, and unnecessary correction are also a form of corrupt communication.
“[And] as fits the occasion.” Here is where the rubber meets the road for me. I am the queen of making it awkward. I stick my foot in my mouth on the regular. There’s a slight pivot here in the verse. Now we go from intentions and motives behind our speech in general to actively paying attention to the specific conversation we are engaged in and the unique circumstances
surrounding it. In order to do this we must engage our minds, we cannot make haphazard comments or speak freely, we must think about what we are about to say. For me this requires that I slow down. That I employ what my grandmother used to teach me, to think before I speak. Think about what though? Here are simple questions to ask yourself before you speak.
Is what I’m about to say true?
Is what I want to say necessary?
Is now a good time for me to say this?
Is this going to be helpful for the person I’m speaking to?
Will what I say show love for the other person?
Will what I am about to say give grace to those who hear?
“That it may give grace to those who hear.” This final clarification of how we are to talk with one another is the heart of the verse. It is the part of the verse that gives me greatest conviction. I am to give grace when I speak? Give grace? Give grace! Give. When I talk it is not about me, it is about giving a gift to the one who I am speaking to. Grace. When I speak, grace ought to be the focus, both the grace I have received and the grace I intend to give. Take the grace you have been given and give it to others.I must confess I like to talk so I can take credit. I speak so I can receive glory. I talk to others so I can take charge.
Oh Father forgive my great and many sins, for abusing and misusing the gift of communication. Praise be to God for the forgiveness of the true grace giver! Jesus is the only one who faithfully and mercifully gives good grace. I need him to help me give the good grace that he has given me to others.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Read & ponder Ephesians 4
Questions to Reflect on:
1.What is your motive when you speak?
2. What struggles do you have with your speech?
3. Confess and receive God’s good grace!