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No Corrupting Talk

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

The words of our mouth matter to God. We don’t like hearing that because our words often tell on us in ways we’d rather not have to confront. It is with our words that we can bless, build up, and encourage others. But it is also with our words that we can tear down, divide, and hurt people. I imagine most of us can think of hurtful words that have been spoken to us in our lives. I also imagine there are conversations and words we have spoken that we would rather not have played back to us in Heaven. 

Our passage today serves as a command and deterrent from this kind of action. Paul writes, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths.” This is a challenge, even for believers. We need to labor to control and bridle our tongues. It is so easy to engage in corrupting talk. It can be cussing, crudeness, gossip, or harshness. There are so many forms corrupting talk can take. The Lord cares about how His people speak to those outside the church and to one another. We want to represent the Lord accurately in how we speak. 

Paul then says, “only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Our words are meant to build others up. We want our words to give grace. It isn’t easy to do this. Sometimes we have to use our words to say hard things, truthful things, that won’t be popular. Paul isn’t forbidding this sort of thing. He is showing how we ought to do it. 

As Christians we want our lives to be holy and set apart from the world. We want to demonstrate in our actions that we are not like the world but belong to Christ. Our words should be no different. How we use words, and speak to others, ought to be a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian church. Examine your words today. How do you speak with others? Are you engaged in corrupted speech? Repent. Ask the Lord for forgiveness and ask for His help to direct your words toward becoming arrows of grace.

Reflection & Journal:
- What are the types of corrupting talk that you struggle with?
- What examples of building up and words of grace can you give?
- How can we monitor our mouths and ensure we are being faithful in this command?

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