Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
We need to be careful about what we say. There are so many different kinds of ways to communicate nowadays. There is so much more instant communication. There are a lot of ways to communicate anonymously. And sometimes it seems like there is a lot less restraint in what we say. We want our voices and opinions to be heard, and we’re not always nice about it. But truthfully, there are right things to say and things that should not be said. There is a kind way to say things that may be difficult to say, and there is a hurtful way to say things.
Maybe we just need to put our speech to the test and ask ourselves if it administers grace to who we are talking to, if it might edify, encourage, or benefit them in some way. And if not, perhaps it should be left unsaid. There is such a thing as corrupt communication, tainted by something impure, like sin or a wrong attitude, selfishness, pride, bitterness or envy. Sometimes it just makes us feel better to cut someone else down, to get that dig in, but there are things we can say that will truly hurt someone else and may even hinder them in their walk with Christ.
We are to speak the truth, but we are to speak it in love. We are to help others, but we can do so kindly. Because not only does it harm others, but it hurts our testimony as Christians. It hurts our relationships. It hurts our witness. It can hurt our churches. And it can even hurt us. That corrupt communication was part of the old man that is crucified when we accept Christ. So we can’t let him speak for us anymore.
Words have the capacity to build up or to tear down, to encourage or dishearten, to help or to hurt. So may we be willing to exercise some restraint, to think about what we’re saying and how best to say what we need to say. May we seek as much as possible to bless others, to show them tangible grace, and to demonstrate love in the things that we say. There are so many angry and cruel voices trying to dominate the conversation of our world. But we’re never going to drown them out or make a difference by sounding exactly like them.