“Do not let any unwholesome communication 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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption: (Ephesians 4:29-30, NIV).
Arguably, one of the most prominent topics in Scripture is the use (or misuse) of the mouth. It’s a critical subject because as James indicates, like the rudder on a ship, our tongues control the direction of our lives (James 3). We simply cannot afford to ignore the admonition to speak constructive, Word-based, and Christ honoring words that edify and build up ourselves and others.
The standard for our communication is that we would not let ANY unwholesome or unedifying words come out of our mouths. The charge to the believer is to concentrate on forms of communication that build up and meet the needs of the hearers rather than yielding to destructive forms of communication. Search your heart today for the following:
- Lying (intentional distortion of the truth)
- Flattery (use of one’s words for manipulation)
- Cursing (to wish ill of people with one’s words)
- Slander (to intentionally spread a mistruth to harm)
- Gossip (to talk about someone in a negative light in their absence even if what you are saying is true)
- Cussing (the use of inflammatory replacement words for the purpose of expressing anger, frustration, or offense – includes the use of slang terms)
- Coarse Jesting (inappropriate joking or telling of stories)
- Contradiction (speaking contrary to the Word of God)
- Profanity (characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious)
- Ungodly Counsel (imparting unscriptural counsel to other believers)
- Cyber Smack (the use of modern technology to tear down others such as email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc)
Note that destructive communication “grieves” or hurts the Holy Spirit. What believer desires to knowingly and deliberately hurt or grieve the Holy Spirit? But that is exactly what we do when we tear down others with our words regardless of the mode of transmission. It is naive and unrealistic to think that we can grieve the Holy Spirit and maintain the spiritual perception we need to live and walk in victory. By grieving the Holy Spirit through our ungodly communication we separate ourselves from his wisdom, power, and direction at a time when we desperately need Him. We would do well to remember that the rule of Scripture also applies to the new communication technologies.