“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.” (Eph. 4:29)
Paul is interested in two types of words. Those that are wholesome and those that aren’t. Words have purpose. Those who let them proceed out of their mouths do so with a purpose. Unfortunately, many use them to degrade, spoil or hurt. Those who claim that sticks and stones may break bones but words won’t hurt you are wrong. Words are powerful. They can shape a life, change a mind, build character, and destroy a soul.
But, as we know, Paul is addressing faithful saints. He wants to make sure they understand how their vocal vocabulary is to be used. Every moment has a need and every need needs a word. Edifying words are helpful for the need of the moment no matter how dire the moment is. Unwholesome words do not edify but rather make matters worse.
When we speak we have a choice of words and use of words. We can bring grace to any situation, no matter how bad it is or we can bring disgrace and fail to improve the moment.
We, the faithful saints are supposed to be the salt and the light in a saltless and dark world. We bring salt and light without speech. We comfort, encourage, teach, impart grace, share faith and love with our words. Or, we can use words to discourage and bring sadness through doubt and despair in our language.
“Only such a word,” Paul says, “as is good…” Sure, things are not always good. People often disappoint. Things don’t always work out. We get lemons when we wanted sugar and the days can be dark and dreary. Most of us were told as children that if we couldn’t say something nice say nothing. I think Paul is saying, “Don’t say something bad but do say something good. Christians can’t look at the needs of the moment and be silent. We have to speak out and when we do we must speak words that will give grace to the people listening. It is the only correspondence we are permitted as children of God.
Task for today: Speak up but speak to edify. Season your words with grace. Don’t waste words but speak for edification according to the need of the moment. You are salt so be influential. You are light so let your words shine.