“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
A lot of unwholesome words have come out of my mouth over the years, mostly spoken out of anger or frustration. This bad habit has been greatly tempered by the Lord over the past few years, but once in a while, the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head out of the abyss.
I recently made the sad and bitter discovery that unwholesome words could come out from the tips of my fingers just as fast and easily as saying them. In anger and frustration, I pounded on the computer keys and sent an email. To my shame, this has resulted in hurt feelings and a broken friendship. Just as you feel so helpless in not being able to swallow back those uttered words, I felt so helpless in not being able to pull back and delete the sent mail.
We are in an age where conversations between people from opposite sides of the world is possible and could be done in real-time. With just a few clicks of the finger, you could converse face-to-face with anyone in the world (or even in space, for that matter). With a few clicks of the finger, we could send a message to thousands of people across the globe, just as easily as sending it to just one person. With just a few clicks, we could send painful, stabbing and debilitating words to people, just as easily as sending a birthday greeting.
With all the available social media within our reach, it is wise to heed the second part of Ephesians 4:29 “… but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear”. We always find a lot to say about a lot of things and revel when we are heard and listened to. This is particularly true when we feel slighted or feel that we need to correct something or someone. We may make sense and correction may be needed, but not all words are edifying or helpful; most likely than not, words spoken (or in my case, written) in the heat of the moment are words that tear down. Most likely too, words uttered (or again, written) in passion, are not needed for that particular moment.
Biting words or being ‘brutally frank’ does more damage than good. When was the last time you thanked someone for condemning or hurting you? But more memorable and perhaps more meaningful and kept in the heart would be those words spoken in love, soft words that encouraged, inspired change because our flaws and mistakes were seen as fleeting mistakes and not for who we are.
So next time you or I take offense for whatever reason, rather than letting our fingers pound those keys or blasting off vocal bullets, let’s take several hours to cool down and think over the words that our Lord would want us to say — or write.
Writer’s Bio: Aya Gosh is woman who chronicles her adventures with the Lord Jesus. Meeting life’s unexpected surprises with new eyes and a grateful heart.