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. - Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
What would Christianity look like if Jesus had consistently pulled his disciples to the side to degrade or trash talk the poor, insult the outcasts, and spread rumors about the unruly? It's hard to imagine that others would have been attracted to His teachings.
Baseball chatter or a few socially unacceptable words thrown around the garage are hardly a reason to concern ourselves. However, claiming to be a follower of Christ while spewing out profanity, hurling degrading comments, or spreading around piercing gossip is simply unacceptable.
Whether we like it or not, the world is making its decision about Jesus Christ by what flows freely from our lips. How many pastors or priests would we feel comfortable teaching us about God if they pulled us aside on occasion to trash talk someone else?
Likewise, why would any non-beleiver feel compelled to find out more about Jesus Christ if we followers are not distinctively different? While our hearts may be set toward God - the world will know about our faith by the way we carry ourselves and how we express ourselves. What we do and say - does matter.
It takes an amazing amount of self-control to filter our language. When our heart is clean and concerned with building up our brothers, families, friends, and even people different from us - then our mouths will follow suit.
THE RIGHT NEXT STEP
Think of one person you can build up today through encouraging words - be intentional.
PRAY: God, I want you to consume my heart and my thoughts so I only see the best and want the best for others. Give me a desire to build up the people around me and shut my mouth when I'm about to tear down someone else. Amen.