Focal Passage: Ephesians 4:25-32
Our words matter. Do you believe this? I’m sure you do because you can think of an instance where poorly chosen words, either spoken by you or someone else, have caused hurt and or even damaged a relationship. On the flip side, you can also probably still hear the words of those that have spoken blessing over you, or as we read last week, have spoken “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
Over the past couple weeks, the apostle Paul has focused on the corporate implications of what it means to be the Church, i.e. the need for unity and maturity. This week, Paul hones in on the individual and the responsibility that each church member has with one another. He clues us in on this by addressing “each one” or “each of you” (v. 25) to speak with integrity. Each person within the body must put off falsehood and speak truthfully.
He also gives instructions in verse 29 to speak with the purpose of building up others. The old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” actually parallels Biblical truth. Only speak what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, so it may benefit those who listen. Have you viewed what you’re about to say through that perspective before?
Not only do “reckless words pierce like a sword (Proverbs 12:18),” they also grieve the Holy Spirit. Remember in the beginning of Ephesians 4 that we, as the Church, are called to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit (v. 3). A rash word is not only divisive in the body, it also grieves God. Therefore, in order to fully edify others with our speech, we must speak kindly, compassionately, and with grace. We must rid ourselves of the unwholesome talk that comes out in the form of bitterness, anger, slander and instead demonstrate grace by forgiving others, just as we have been forgiven (v. 31-32). Remember, our words do matter. We can choose to speak life over someone or death. James, the brother of Jesus, said, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness… This should not be” (James 3:9-10). How can you use your words to demonstrate both love for God and others this week?