This past week in our Journey Through Ephesians Study we read Ephesians 4:17-32. In my personal study time God took me through so much more than I ever expected. Each day had such good Word. But, as I got into Thursday’s reading, the Lord really started working on me about words.
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” As I let that verse really sink in, I started wondering, “what is abusive language?”. So I headed on over to good old Merriam-Webster.com and looked up the word abusive, which means: harsh, insulting language. That led me to look up a few more verses on words and language.
Matthew 12:36 (NLT) says “And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak.” Did you know that the word idle means lacking worth or basis? So God is going to hold us accountable for every worthless thing we say. Really makes you think doesn’t it?
I recently had a conversation with someone, sharing what I had learned, and in that conversation the subject of “harsh words” on the basis of tough love came up. This person brought up the question, “what about harsh words in that kind of instance?”. Of course I stated that I didn’t really know but that I would pray about it, and so would they, and see what God showed us. The following day, I read Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) and it says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (emphasis mine) I guess that answered that question.
You see God wants us to treat each other with love and kindness. We can get so much further with people if we watch what we say and how we say it. Proverbs 16:24 (NLT) says “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Ephesians 4:2 says that we should always be humble and gentle with each other. Then in verse 15 its says that we should tell the truth in love so that we grow to be more like Christ. I am coming to realize that those WWJD bracelets that people wear, and that used to be such a huge trend, are right. We need to think about it on a daily basis and ask the Lord how we should handle each situation, what we should say and how we should act. If we do that, then we will treat each other with love, kindness and respect.
Harsh words can actually cause people to run away from you. As Christians, we don’t want people to run from us but to us in times of trouble. The reason being so that we can turn them to God and help them to get closer to Him so He can do His work in their lives. It’s not for us to change the person but that’s God’s job. We are to lead them to God and He will do all the rest.
If we are not careful with how we say things to people we can have the opposite affect and then people will just see us as one of those hateful Christians who thinks they are so perfect, when in reality we do not think that way at all. We need His love and encouragement and change. So… “be kind to each other and tenderhearted towards one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”(Eph. 4:32 NLT) Because God will hold us accountable for what we say. (Matt12:36)