Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
I wish I would have had this in mind when I posted something on a public social networking site. This is a reminder to me as well as to you. When in a conflict with someone it is important to respond biblically. This means you don’t attack the person but rather use the gift of communication to attack the problem. This is a main area people struggle in. For reasons born of the sinful heart, we would rather attack the person we have a conflict with rather than using that energy to apply it to solving the problem.
In the Ephesians passage above, the Greek word “Sapros” is used and it means corrupt or foul, and is often used or rotten fruit, vegetables, or other spoiled food. What the verse is saying is don’t let garbage talk come out of your mouths.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers .And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29, 30
Perhaps if we prayed as David did above there would less discord in our relationships and in our homes. Instead, we resort to name calling, and we use words like “stupid, idiot, loser” and say things that hurt like “Just what I’ve expected, you’re just like…” these things attack who the person is, not what they have done. We attack who the person is not just give our opinion on what they have done. Often our words to those we profess to love are cutting, mean, sarcastic, cruel, and harsh.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21
Our cruel hateful words lead our children to believe things like, “ I’ve never done anything right…” “I’m a complete failure…” “There’s no hope for me…” “I might as well quit…”
And sometimes they do. They quit hoping, believing, enduring and sometimes they decide to quit living. Whether it is right for them to think that or not is not the point right now…the point is, if you or I communicate with someone else in such a way that it makes it easier for them to draw those kinds of unbalanced and untrue conclusions…then we have attacked their person…
So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool. James 3:5-12 (NLT)
There is nothing edifying in corrupt communication. There is nothing that builds up or promotes spiritual growth. This is grievous to the Holy Spirit and does not glorify God.