Summary: to encourage the congregation to use their words to build others up.
The Power of Our Words
Primary Purpose: To encourage the congregation to use their words to build others up.
In his book “The Weight of Your Words” author Joseph Stowell tells the following story:
"My junior high school had scheduled its annual operatic production. Talented students were quick to try out for the various parts. I was not so certain of my abilities and had decided that singing in an operatta wasn’t really for me.
Then Mrs. Wilson, my music teacher, asked me to try out. It was not a coveted role, but it did have three solos.
I am certain that my audition was only mediocre. But Mrs. Wilson reacted as if she had just heard a choir of heavenly angels. “Oh, that was jusst beautiful. It was perfect. Your are just right for the role. You will do it, won’t you?” I accepted.
When the time came for the next year’s operatta, most of the students who had played the leads the year before had graduated. And Mrs. Wilson had transferred to another school. In her place was a rather imposing figure who had an excellent singing voice and a sound knowledge of music theory.
As tryouts began, I was ready. I felt confident that my talent was just what the operatta needed. With approximately 150 of my peers assembled, I knew everything would go well.
But if I live for an eternity I will never forget the words spoken on that day. When my audition was completed, the teacher asked, “Who told you you could sing?”
The timid youth of a year earlier was suddenly reborn. I was totally destroyed. Harsh words are bad enough under any circumstances. To a young idealistic boy, they can be devastating. From the time those six words were stated, it took eight years and coaxing of my fiancee before my voice was raised in song again."
This passage that Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29 encourages us to use our words carefully to build others up. Our words have a tremendous ability to heal and bring peace or to destroy and hurt others. (Read Scripture)
There are several ways that verse 29 is translated by different Bible translations. The KJV says to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” The Revised Standard version says, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouth”, the NASV says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth”. So, the verse is talking more than just gossip in this passage. It is referring to lying, foul language, lashing out at someone in anger or putting others down, gossip and slander. It is talking about any way that we use our speech to belittle or put other people down. This verse is followed by a command: “do not grieve the Holy Spirit”. The word grieve is the word Lupeo which means to to distress, grieve, to cause pain. The fact that it follows the command not to use
unwholesome words indicates that this type of behavior grieves the Spirit of God. Rather than that, later Paul tells us instead of acting like that to be imitators of God and to walk in love.
If we really love others as we are commanded to then we will think about how our words impact the lives of others. You should assume that if you talk about the other person that that person is standing right next to you hearing what you say. It will probably be the case that your words will arrive back at the person.
Sometimes you will hear a person say "I’m just being honest" when they say something mean. That’s not a justification for saying something like that. Neither is it okay if you say, "Well, I would say the same thing if the person was right here in front of me." My response to that would be, "So what. That doesn’t justifiy your being rude." Watch what you say. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years. His family tired again and agins to convince him to get a hearing aid. Finally, he relented. he went to the doctor and was fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100 percent.
A month later he went back to the doctor. The doctor said with a smile, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”
The old man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!”
(“Hearing Problems” Crosswalk.com, by Jerry De Luca, Montreal West, Quebec)
God’s desire is for us to love each other. Remember Jesus commands in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If you are talking about someone else ask yourself, “Am I acting out of love for this person? Am I trying to tear down or to build up?”