In studying Ephesians for my Bible study this week, I found a verse highlighted that I often use when disciplining students: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
This verse is sandwiched in with other verses that Paul is teaching the Gentiles about “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new self. When I am talking with a student about this verse, it is usually to help them see that the words he or she spoke toward another student were unkind and did not build up the friend. It is a great time to teach them about how words and tone do hurt others and how God wants us to show love and encouragement to our neighbors.
Just like when I explain to a student the meaning of this verse, I was once again convicted as Ephesians 4:29 marinated on my heart. Today we live in such a negative society, and it is very easy to fall into the contagious trap of complaining, grumbling, gossiping, and giving bad reports. This corrosive conduct not only wounds others but it grieves the Holy Spirit because He lives in us.
Instead of going down the road of negativity and unwholesome talk, Paul tells us that we are to “put on” the speech of building up others and benefiting those who listen. We are to be imitators of Christ, a fragrant aroma of His love because of his sacrifice for us.
As a covenant family, let us confess our unwholesome talk and ask God to grant us the discipline and strength to “put on” words that build up the body of Christ and unite, not tear it down. Let us look to find the positives in life and focus on what glorifies our Father in heaven.