“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” — Ephesians 4:29
Anyone who has been bullied can attest to the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is flat not true. The words we speak have the power to build someone up and the power to tear down decades-old friendships. Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are regularly reminded to examine the power of our words:
“Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.” — Proverbs 11:9
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Ephesian church to “live a life worthy of the calling they have received” (Ephesians 4:1). He spends half of his letter reminding them of the saving work of Jesus and the powerful Gospel story that redeemed them from a life separated from God. He then spends the second half of his letter reminding them how they should live in response to this astonishing good news.
He actually reminds his readers that when we use our words to tear others down by talking bad about them behind their backs (or in front of them), we are actually grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). We think our words come out of our mouths and fall on deaf ears or will somehow fall to the ground without much impact.
Our words have power. That kind of power should be stewarded well and used for things that build people up, rather than tear them down.
— Reza Zadeh, chaplain for the Denver Broncos
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