03 Feb Speak to build
With our God-given ability we use words to pray to God and thank Him, to give out information and knowledge and also use to interact with others. Usage of appropriate words, tone and emotion will serve purpose of our speaking. On the whole, our words, as Paul tells us in Col.4:6 must always be gracious, seasoned with salt. In Eph.4:29, he says, our words must be wholesome. They must minister grace to the hearers according to their needs. The purpose of our words must be to build them up. That is, our words must be life-giving to the hearers. A Christian must never use words to break the spirit of another person. Some instances of such use are given below:
Misleading words: Advertisers and politicians want to sell their products and ideas. They use words in such a way as to appeal to some emotion in the people and then make them believe their words.
Mechanical use of words: When we pray to God or worship Him, we tend to do it mechanically without really meaning it like `Best Wishes‘ on many occasions. The hearers don’t benefit by these words.
Hypocritical words: These words hide the real inner state of the speaker’s mind. For example, a man may utter pious words without being really pious.
Obscene words: These words kindle dirty thoughts.
Deadly words: People use words to hurt the feelings or break the spirit of others. Words are used to humiliate others, start a quarrel or an unnecessary argument, spread rumours or to slander another person.
From self-centredness to love A Christian must never use words as a means to achieve his selfish ends. First, his `yes’ must be `yes’ and `no’ must be `no’.(Matt.5:37). That is, he must always speak the truth in a loving tone. Even truth can be spoken in a mocking or scornful tone. But as Christians, we must speak the truth in love. Can we change our habitual words?
It is difficult to change our habitual words overnight. Because our words are the expression of our character. In Matt.33-37, Jesus says, a good tree (character) produces good fruit (words) and a bad tree produces bad fruit. Also, we will be justified by our words or condemned by our words because our words express our character. In James 3:2, we read that a man who is never at fault in his words is a perfect man (in character). Only God can help us in changing our character and thus our words. Let us pray that He may so change us that the fruit of our lips will be acceptable to Him.
About the author
Abraham George a member of Pathanapuram EGF, Kerala.