Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.~Ephesians 4:29 NLT
“Meme, why does sin make us say bad words?” our daughter and son-in-law’s oldest son asked.
Although only eight years old as of this writing, he’s always manufactured some thoughtful questions. Questions our daughter and son-in-law, as well as Meme and Pop, must think about before we answer.
“What kind of words,” Meme prompted him.
“Like, @^&#$%,” he replied.
Meme went into shock until I reminded her he was simply telling her the word. “Where did you hear that?” she asked.
“On a movie.”
While initially shocking, the question gave Meme and Pop an ideal scenario to discuss what words we should and should not use and why. The question also allowed us to discuss sin and how it affects our actions, attitudes, and words. And we didn’t have to bring the subject up. We merely used a normal conversation and turned it into a teachable moment.
I’ve known a few folks who claimed to be Christians yet they let curse words slip from their mouths regularly. I’ve always thought that when unwholesome language slips out without the person thinking, it shows their normal way of talking. And I’m certainly not the judge. I’ve dealt with periods in my life when I fought with the temptation to say things I shouldn’t.
Paul, however, serves as a juror at the behest of God’s Spirit when he tells us not to use foul or abusive language—which includes more than curse words. One translation used the term, unwholesome.
But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.~Colossians 3:8 NLT
What we say reflects our inside—not the shape the organs of our bodies are in, but the shape our heart is in. Words reflect our character, and our character tells us and others who we are.
Paul suggests an alternative to curse words or to words that simply have no value: use good and helpful words. When we use these types of words, we encourage others, rather than drag them down or abuse them. We build them up and point them to the One who can do amazing things in their lives.
Let your words encourage rather than discourage.
Think of one person you can encourage today.
Father God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable unto You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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