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 NASB)
Got that? Let no unwholesome (rotten, worthless) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification (to build up) according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace (a gift, unmerited favor) to those who hear. In short, your words have power; use them to build people up.
This concept may sound odd to people in my generation who were raised on that age-old adage: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. They are just words–who cares what somebody says, right? WRONG! I have taken the liberty of improving that old adage and making it more biblical: Sticks and stones cause temporal groans, but words can hurt forever. (copyright Daniel M. Moore) Your words have power, use them to build people up. Friend, you are made in the image of God, your Creator! Let’s examine the kind of power your creator’s words have by examining how He created the physical universe from the account in Genesis, chapter 1:
3 Then God said…. 6 Then God said… 9 Then God said… 11 Then God said… 14 Then God said… 20 Then God said… 24 Then God said… You get the idea? Oh, yea…. one more:
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
In summary, God spoke the universe into existence. Those are some very powerful words! Then, God spoke mankind into existence in His image. May I say it again, your words have power! You may not be able to speak something into existence from nothing, but you can build people up with your words. Consequently, this power can also be used to unleash hell into people’s lives (see James 3:1-12). Use your words to build people up.
Give Grace to Those Who Hear
Since you are a child of God created in your Father’s image, why not use your powerful words to give godly gifts according to the need of the moment? To those who offend, speak forgiving words. To those who feel worthless, speak words of affirmation. To those who hate, speak words of reconciliation. To those who are angry, speak love. To those who are lonely, speak as a friend. To those who are lost, speak of salvation in Jesus Christ. And, to those who are unsuspecting, hit them with random grace!
Your assignment is to bring encouragement (building up) to unsuspecting souls. I have been doing this lately and I would like to encourage you to do it as well. Think about people in your past who have impacted you in a positive way. It could be a teacher, a coach, a minister, a Sunday School teacher, a friend from the old neighborhood, a neighbor, a classmate…. anyone who impacted you in a positive way. Then, tell them! As human beings (teachers, coaches, ministers, neighbors, etc….), we typically get an ear full from people we make unhappy. Let’s stand out from the world and build people up with a bit of encouragement.
I have just begun this encouragement endeavor, and so far it has reaped incredible results. Would you believe that people seem to be thrilled to hear from a person in their past who has looked them up just to tell them how special they were…how much impact their teaching, preaching, coaching, friendship…. meant in someone else’s life? It seems to fill people with joy!
If you were to receive a call, text, email, or any communication from someone thanking you for the positive impact you had in his or her life, how much better would your day be? Would you smile as you are waiting in line at the grocery store? Might you work a little harder, love a little better, act a little nicer? Would you praise a little louder? If you received a random word of gratitude for what you do, whatever else you did that day, would you perform it a little better? Why not pass that blessing on to someone else? 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.
And for those of you who have no idea how to find this person from your past, I’ll give you a few pointers: Facebook, Twitter, Google. If you’re not into social media, I’ll bet someone you know is (start with the millennial’s and get younger and younger…. it won’t take you long). Your words have power, use them to build up!