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.
Moms are full of wisdom that hardly any child appreciates fully. At least that is what I have come to believe…now that I am a mom. I remember frequently rolling my eyes – or at least internally rolling my eyes – at my mother’s quips and advice growing up. I had this sense that she knew very little of the world I lived in and that I could do better on my own. But a few of her catchy phrases have stuck with me through the years. One such phrase that she gleaned from Thumper’s mom in the movie Bambi and added to her “mom manual” was: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
That’s pretty solid advice that has the potential to save us from a whole lot of conflict! It reminds me of our verse for today. But our verse takes it up a notch! Not only should we hold our tongue and not say anything that is hurtful, demeaning or degrading – but we should also not be careless with our words. We are to be intentional in our words, that they would ONLY be spoken in order to encourage others as their needs dictate – not our own. Our words should be spoken in an effort to lift someone up for their benefit – not our own. Those are some serious guidelines to consider as we choose what to say and when to speak.
The older I get the more I am convinced that living out this verse is not a task I can handle on my own. I am very much in need of the Holy Spirit to be the gatekeeper of my mouth on a daily basis. We will spend the rest of the week exploring and learning together how to tame our tongues and honor God in our lives by the way we choose to speak. For today, spend some time in prayer asking God to show you areas of your life where you might need His help reining in that tongue.