Right and Wrong WordsIs your tongue quick to criticize but slow to apologize?
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New Way of Talking
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be
good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those
who hear them (v.29).
Recently, a woman had oral surgery and awoke
from the procedure with one alteration she wasn’t
expecting. The work on her mouth went well, but
the words that came out of her mouth sounded strange.
Her Northwestern US tone had been replaced by an
accent straight out of Transylvania. Her condition?
Foreign accent syndrome—a neurological condition
that has been documented just 60 times over the past
100 years. Something happened between the time the
woman received anesthesia and when she came to. And
it appears her new accent will stay with her for the rest of
In portions of Ephesians 4 and 5, the apostle Paul
placed the accent on a new way of talking for believers in
Jesus. He implored his readers to speak in a godly, graceseasoned
way: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let
everything you say be good and helpful.” Why? “So that
your words will be an encouragement to those who hear
them” (Ephesians 4:29).
In other words, the things you say will identify you with
Jesus and “the truth that comes from Him” (v.21, see 5:2),
or not. When you choose to litter your language with foul
or abusive terms (4:29)—harsh words, slander (v.31),
obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes (5:4)—you
reveal a heart of darkness, not the light of Christ (5:8).
Paul states, “This light within you produces only what is
good and right and true” (5:9). Light, not from your own means, but produced as
the “[Holy] Spirit renew[s] your thoughts and attitudes” (4:23). He alone can make
your speech “truly righteous and holy” (v.24).
So how’s your new way of talking going? Are your words revealing the light
of Christ or are they exposing the darkness in your heart? Allow the Holy Spirit to
season your speech today.
Read Proverbs 4:23 and note how Solomon addressed the
importance of a pure heart and clean speech.
What needs to change in your word choices and way of communicating?
How can you reflect the light of Jesus in your speech today
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