“Is that tearing down, mom?”
My oldest asked from the backseat of the car and quickly brought me out of my daze. “Huh?” confused by his question. “When someone says “stupid or poop or something not nice… Is that tearing down?”
I was piecing it together now from a conversation we had earlier that week.. I had shared Ephesians 4:29 with my boy. “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.”
We were having one of those weeks where the “building up” words were hard to come by yet the “tearing down” words seemed to multiply.
And the hard truth was, I needed to be reminded of this verse as much (if not more) than my five year old. And while explaining the power of his words, whether good or bad, conviction fell heavy on me.
Because, if I’m honest, I often speak without thinking. We call this “not using your filter” in my house. When I’m tired and frustrated with my kids, the words that come out of my mouth are not commonly “useful for building up”. When I’m with a friend and we are talking about another mom and her struggles when she’s not present to defend herself, I’m most certainly not using my words to benefit those who listen. When I’m giving my husband the silent treatment or the condescending tone, I have neglected to build him up according to his needs.
Webster’s dictionary defines unwholesome like this: detrimental to physical, mental or moral well-being, unhealthy.
Did you realize your words literally have the power to make an environment or person sick? I’m not talking about physically sick. I’m saying our words have the power to poison a conversation.
The good news is that we also have the power to use our words constructively, for the good of those who listen.
The Bible says in Luke 6:45, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
The mouth speaks what the heart is full of… That part just about always makes me cringe. Because I know what my mouth speaks a lot of times and that is not what I want my heart to be full of! My harsh and unkind words are merely a symptom of the root disease in my heart. I have to allow Jesus access to my heart and ask Him to forgive me and purify my heart if I want to change from the inside out.
But the same is true for the reverse: If good is stored in a man’s heart, guess what is going to come out? Good things! Words that are useful for building up and not for tearing down.
How do I make sure good is in my heart? God says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
The key to ensuring our words are uplifting and healthy instead of unwholesome is this: we fill our minds and hearts with God’s word. With God’s Word on our tongues, we can be sure our conversation will benefit those who listen.
“Is that tearing down?” Let’s ask ourselves this question as we go about our day. If our answer is yes, let’s ask Jesus to enable us to build others up instead.
As we desire to be women who build others up according to their needs, so let’s be women who are full of God’s words; who have healthy hearts and therefore healthy conversations.
Word of the Day:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
Jesus, search my heart now, Lord. I desire to not let any unwholesome talk escape my lips today. Help me to guard my tongue and filter my words. May I honor you with my conversation by hiding your Word in my heart. Enable me to encourage those I come in contact with today. Thank you Jesus.
Author: Emily Goss