“Taming the Tongue”
Ephesians 4:29 NKJV Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
″Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.″—Rudyard Kipling
Our goal when communicating should be transparency, not ambiguity.
Our words will either be discouraging or encouraging. Let's consider both.
I. Discouraging Words.
corrupt (sapros) =rotten, worthless (literally or morally)
proceed =to depart, be discharged
- Insulting: Words that are rude and offensive.
- Inconsiderate: Words that are spoken without counting the cost.
- Inaccurate: Words that are half-truths.
- Inconclusive: Words that cast doubt.
II. Encouraging Words.
edification =architecture (a structure; so we either build up or tear down)
impart grace =gracious words that are divinely influenced
Words that encourage are…
- M easured: Words that are deliberate and restrained.
Proverbs 24:28 NKJV Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, For would you deceive with your lips?
- I ntentional: Words that are spoken on purpose as an act of our will.
Colossians 4:6 NKJV Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
James 3:1-4, 8-12 NKJV My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
- C alculated: Words that are weighed carefully.
Proverbs 13:3 NKJV He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.Proverbs 15:23 NKJV A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
What fruit are you bearing from your current vocabulary?
- We are all impacted by words spoken to us or about us. What discouraging and/or hurtful words have others aimed at you?
- Why is the impact often greater when encouraging/discouraging words come from or are spoken to family or friends?
- When are you most likely to use or be tempted to use inappropriate language/words? Why?
- Why is it so important for Christians to use positive, gracious words and not offensive, vulgar ones?
- What is one word or phrase you need to eliminate from your vocabulary? What is one word or phrase you need to incorporate into your vocabulary?