Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God.
Often the King James says things much more eloquently, and to me the verse above is an example. “No rotten word” is a literal translation and it carries the idea that our words carry contagion and can afflict and infect the thoughts and actions of others. The words of others have certainly affected us, so it would only stand to reason that ours would impact others. The rotten words would be those that carried the seeds of impurity, discouragement, and temptation. As words represent ideas and concepts, a single word has the power to conjure up in the mind of another person negative thoughts – about himself, about God, about people, about truth, about life, etc. To use our mouths negatively grieves the Holy Spirit of God.
Or we can use our mouths to minister grace to those who would listen to us, or to hearers in general, whether they choose to listen or not. Such as when Christ loudly lifted up His voice on the last day of the Feast of the Tabernacles, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink!” (John 7:37).
The phrase “minister grace” is interesting. Literally it means “giving grace” and we might object that only God can truly give grace to others. Yet God is saying that our words can be the very vehicle He uses to communicate and to give grace, or to minister grace, to another person. This verse explains to us the tremendous power in our words – power to damage and power to bless.
What are the words that have touched you? What have others said to you, or written to you, that have served as the very instruments of God to minister His grace to your soul? Grace means the unearned or unmerited favor of God, or the blessing that He bestows on us that Christ Himself has purchased by His blood. The cross is the central focus of the Bible and every blessing in life we receive is found in its power. Even the stripes of Christ, or His sufferings, are the instruments of God to bring healing to our hearts and our lives, and eventually to our bodies.
So our mouths, our very words have power. How will you use your power today? Will you bless, instruct, encourage, display patience, convey understanding, or reveal love to others? Earlier Paul wrote about speaking the truth in love, and even words of rebuke must be gently spoken, letting God give repentance to the truth (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
A trap we each need to avoid is the thought that harshness and “corrupt communication” is God’s best tool. Perhaps God has used in our lives words of truth not spoken in love – He probably has had to use these because there was nothing else around for Him to use. Yet let us not imagine that this is God’s best plan. Just because you and I had to overcome the unkindness the truth was often wrapped in does not mean that the crassness and hardness of others was God’s best plan. Nor is that His will for us. Speak the truth in love at all times.
Father, we are so grateful that we hear Your gentle voice through Your Spirit. We are grateful for the many times that grace was ministered to our souls through the words of others. Use us to be Your instruments to lift up and encourage others. Amen.
Quote for the day:
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”