Guarding the Mouth
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
God’s word has much to say about the words of our mouths. Both the Old and New Testaments talk about guarding our words, using them to build up and edify instead of to cut down and destroy. Believe me when tell you, that in my forty-five years of pastoral ministry, I have witnessed the many ways that individuals can cut one another to shreds with their words. I’ve seen husbands and wives do it to one another, I’ve seen parents do it to their children, I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ crucify one another with their words.
Paul tells us that our words to one another are to be words that edify one another or to build one another up, words that breed life instead of death. He also encourages us to say just enough for what the moment requires and no more. How easy it is to go on and on and on, it is usually in the on and on and on moments that we get ourselves into trouble.
We could all take a lesson from young Thumper the rabbit from the movie Bambi. When caught making fun of the young clumsy fawn, Thumper’s mother said, “What have I told you?” To which the young rabbit responds, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
So, let’s remember the admonitions of Paul and Thumper and endeavor, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to season our words so that they may be sweet and life-giving to one another. May others be safe in your conversation, whether they are present or not.
“I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle” (Psalm 39:1).