A Whole New Way of Speaking

Most of us have heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” And most of us know this saying is simply not true. We know the power of words, both from the damage other’s words have done to us – and from the damage our words have done to others. Like the 80’s INXS song says, “Words are weapons sharper than knives.” These weapons have the potential to destroy relationships, to destroy unity, to destroy churches.
Flickr | Speech bubbles at Erg by Marc Wathieu

Flickr | Speech bubbles at Erg by Marc Wathieu

The Apostle Paul tells us that knowing Jesus leads us to a whole new way of living (Eph 4:20-24). This new way of life includes how we speak to one another:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ~Ephesians 4:29-30

In this past Sunday’s message, I summarized this new way of speaking as “a pattern of speaking in which we speak all the right words at all the right times for all the right reasons“. You can listen to the message here: A Whole New Pattern of Living (part 7). If you unpack this saying, we are called to speak all the right words (where we replace corrupt ways of speaking with new “good” ways) at all the right times (“as fits the occasion”) for all the right reasons (to build-up the church; to give grace to those who hear; to please the Spirit who dwells among us). I find this simple summary as a good way of remembering Paul’s words and allowing them to shape my speech (Wow, do I have a long way to go!).
Your response to the message was great. I was so encouraged by how each person I heard from was wanting to see his or her speech be transformed through the gospel of Jesus. One person in particular asked me some questions that I felt would be a good for us to discuss more as a church. He asked,
How are we supposed to change our speech? What role do you see our thoughts, desires, and attitudes of the heart playing in our speech? What are your thoughts on how to make these changes to have more edifying speech, with the right timing, and the right reasons?”
I am super appreciative of these questions, specifically because he is seeking to practice what he just heard preached (à la James 1:22-25). So I thought I would take a few blogs to give some answers to these questions. I hope you will not only read these and think about them, but I hope you will prayerfully interact with them, give us your feedback, and most importantly find that your speaking is changing through the process.
How would you answer his questions?
Until next time,