Mind Your Mouth

woman holding her hands over her mouth

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“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 (ESV)

“I would hate to have that woman for a mom. She’s been nothing but negative to her kids since we got here,” I overheard from the campsite next to ours. The group of 20-somethings was just chatting, but I heard it, and it rocked my world.

I began to think about what I’d been saying: things like, “Quiet down!” “Don’t climb on that.”” Slow down. You’re going to fall.” “Be careful!” My children were young and oblivious, but that moment caused me to rethink what and how I said things. I realized just how negative I was being. Even now when I catch myself being negative, my mind flies back to that day!

Our words are so important, especially as followers of Jesus. They can either point others to Christ or turn them away. They can bruise and scar those who are on the other end of our scathing remarks, or they can encourage and build up instead.

Ephesians 4:29, our verse for today, reminds us that no corrupt or negative words should leave our mouths. None. Zero.

Convicting, right? I’m right there with you. While I think about my words more often than I used to, they sometimes just come tumbling out!

Ephesians 4-29 on a floral background

So, what kind of words are we to be speaking instead? We are to speak words that are good for building up as well as encouraging to those who hear. Think of your words as building blocks to make the other person better.

Some words may be uncomfortable for them to hear, but the ultimate purpose of them is to build them up and not tear them down. It is to make them better than before you spoke. It is to point them toward Christ.

As we change our speech, we pay more attention to what kind of words will help in different situations and what words will cause more trouble. We’ll even learn that sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all. By speaking in a God-honoring way, we will give “grace to those who hear.”

The word “grace” in this verse means that it will benefit, pleasure, or give favor to the person who hears your words. I’m reminded of another verse that I love. Proverbs 15:4 says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

Can you just picture it? A gorgeous, full, and blooming tree brought to life by your words? Your thriving children, watered by your words? The friends and family who love to be around you because you build them up and point them to Christ?

As you go throughout your day, pay attention to the words you’re using. Are they negative and critical, or are they encouraging and uplifting?

“Dear Lord, I confess that I often speak without thinking. I use words that are negative, harsh, and critical. Please change my speech patterns and make them life-giving. I want my words to encourage and build up those around me. I want others to be pointed to You through my speech. I know that I can’t do this on my own, but I need Your help. In the name of Jesus, I ask this. Amen”

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