Words have power. They have the power to help or hurt, to build up or tear down, to bless or to curse. Our words aren’t neutral. What we say and how we say it can be a source of strength or a cause of great pain. When it comes to our relationships, our words matter.
“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.” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
When Paul wrote these words to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus, he was offering them divine insight into navigating their relationships. As we read these words from the Bible, I pray that God would apply His truth to our life, our words, and our relationships.
1. Stop using worthless words.
Paul says corrupting speech is contrary to Jesus Christ and the new way of life He has given us. “Corrupting talk” can point to words that are useless, but it probably has something more malicious in mind. It’s when we use our words to hurt someone, including deceitful words and malicious gossip. We must stop wounding our relationships with worthless words. We must refuse to let even one rotten word pour out of our mouths.
2. Use only words that build others up.
Instead of rotten words, we must build up others through our words so that people around us are swirling in Christ’s grace rather than salacious sewage. Paul says that our words must be good for edifying and grace-giving.
Edifying words include communication that helps to build up what is lacking in the lives of others. Grace-giving words include communication that empowers our friends and family to pursue what God wants by living in His power. The goal is to build up, not tear down.
Jesus wants us to know that our words matter. He gave a warning to a group of religious leaders of His day:
“I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36, HCSB)
God takes our words seriously, and so should we. Now, I know that words don’t fix every relationship or fix everything in a relationship. There are many times deeper issues that need to be navigated, but the words we use do matter, and they can only help a relationship flourish.