Ephesians 4:29 (The Message)
If you can’t say something nice don’t say it at all was part of my early education. Honestly...I haven’t always applied this principle. But, I've been the recipient of words spoken by individuals who haven’t applied it as well! It’s not that uncommon when living in community! In election years sometimes I want to use my “outside voice” to say, If you can’t say something nice… We live in a time when people believe it is their “right” to say whatever they “feel” with very little thought to the effects.
The majority of conflicts, estrangements, misunderstandings have begun with stone words instead of gift words. Words are perhaps some of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal. They can, however, also be tools for rebuilding and restoring. It all depends on what words are spoken and how.
As Jesus followers, the words we speak should make us distinctive in a world consumed with “tongue rights.” When the “world” hears Christians exercising tongue rights with each other, what are they to think? Why should they choose another Way if what they are seeing isn’t any different then their present way of living? Our behavior should be so gift-like distinctive that it attracts people, like a sumptuous table of food.
Watching the way we talk begins at “home.” The words we speak to our parents, spouses, children, siblings are practice for words spoken to our neighbors, friends, and fellow Jesus followers. Our “nature” is not gift words. Saying only what helps is a conscious, deliberate and daily choice.
Jesus, thank you for Your “gift words”
that brought healing, forgiveness and wholeness.
Help me to watch the way I talk
so that I can give “gifts” instead of stones.