The sheer number of those who suffer emotional and psychological trauma from unwholesome words launched against them is staggering. From all the wars that have been waged to all the plagues that have descended upon the planet nothing has come close to the number of those who have been damaged by corrupt and rotten speech. There is great power in the spoken word tragically used to tear down and destroy those closest to us. Make no mistake this power is quickly learned by those being attacked, perhaps in a lesser degree, and used defensively, but it does not excuse their bad behavior. This has caused a flood of casualties seeking relief from the world’s counselors to bind up their wounds. Instead of solving their real problems through godly advice they are led as captives into a life of psychotropic drug addiction with little hope of recovery. For the first time in human history the institution of marriage with its permanent relationships are becoming extinct being replaced by multiple marriages or non-committal cohabitation. If you could have your spiritual eyes opened you would be horrified by the carnage of broken lives caused by corrupt and rotten speech. There is a better way, a path of true recovery and hope for those who are willing to follow God’s counsel from His anointed Word.
The Bible says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed from your mouth…” (Ephesians 4:29a KJV). Now that is a challenge. Make no mistake this will be one of the most difficult things you will ever accomplish. The good news, however is you will accomplish it. James writing in his letter demonstrates the difficulty of taming the tongue and its great power to damage yourself and others. He refers to it as a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The biggest lie perpetuated among children is the old saying, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words cannot harm me.” The reverse is true. Words can do great damage to the mental state of others. It would be nearly impossible to describe all corrupt speech from cursing, name calling, belittling, mocking, insulting, accusing, to flippancy or impropriety it all casts its dagger deep into the heart of another individual. In time the individual hearing the verbal attacks may actually begin to believe it about themselves. They begin to question their own worth before God or their own ability to accomplish even the simplest of task. If left alone and not dealt with using sound biblical counsel it can and most often times leads to depression, self-hate, and in extreme cases suicide. As bad as all this is the final crushing blow comes through lies and a false witness against our fellow man. So what is God’s counsel? “Let no corrupt communication proceed from your mouth.” Put off your old self and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, the key to putting off the old self and its habit of corrupt communication is to put on the new man. And to put on the new man we learn how to communicate “…what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b). This is truly other centered rather than self-centered. In fact, it takes a great deal of listening on our part to determine their real needs as opposed to their felt needs. If we spent more time listening rather than talking it would greatly help our communication skills. The Bible says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19a). As we listen to others, not just sort of listen, but really listen then they begin to open up sharing their struggles, unfulfilled desires, and needs. Friends, we are all competent to instruct (counsel) one another from God’s Word, the Bible. (See Romans 15:14) We have all been given the Spirit of the living God to speak the truth with gentleness and respect. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Have you ever thought about how important your communication is to others? It can build others up or it can tear them down. Friends, the choice is yours but if you choose the former then grace will abound with every spiritual blessing.
Furthermore, clearly everyone needs love; self-sacrificing love that expects nothing in return. Jesus Christ was our greatest example of self-sacrificing love to the entire world. In the same way husbands are admonished to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). True love always looks for ways to build others up by pointing out their God given abilities and helping them see their full potential in Christ Jesus. True love helps them see their value and worth in the eyes of God. True love goes the extra mile, turns the other cheek, and is always ready to forgive. Although they, along with all of us, have their faults and besetting sin that keeps tripping them up, we who are spiritual should restore them gently. (See Galatians 6:1). Friends, do you really want to walk as children of light then begin today to watch carefully every word that proceeds out of your mouth and ask yourself does this word build up or does it tear down. Ask yourself does this word demonstrate love or does it cast a dagger deep into the heart of another individual causing them undue harm. Let no one cry out, “Your Words are Killing Me!”
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