May 30 I Monday
2 Chronicles 10-12
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” —Psalm 19:14
As surely as we are listening honestly not only to the facts of a conversation, but also to the feelings of a conversation, we ought to respond well with speaking wholesomely. Paul tells us, “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). The term “unwholesome talk” in Paul’s writing does not mean telling an offensive joke, using bad language, or calling a person a name. Rather, the word “unwholesome” means “rotten,” which is the same word used to describe rotten food. Paul instructs us not to let anything rotten come out of our mouth.
Take a moment to honestly reflect: are there things that we say that are not nutritious, not life-giving to the person who is receiving them? We could probably think of some words or phrases that we have said in the past that are unwholesome. How could we prevent it from happening in the future? By using a simple tool that we often teach our children: think before we speak.
Before we speak, we should ask ourselves, “is it truthful?” But more than speaking the truth, we should consider whether the content of what we want to say is helpful in building the person up and inspiring or are they words of despair and desolation? Sometimes, it may not be necessary for us to give a response. We could perhaps leave it in silence and allow the Holy Spirit to do His gentle work in the person’s heart.
Another thing we ought to remember is that while about 48% of our communication is verbal, the other percentage is what we do with our body and our tone, called “paraverbal.” Although silent, they speak loudly, particularly when we know we are not supposed to say certain things or certain words; our bodies will often speak it for us, unless our hearts have been made pure. With a simple glance or a toss of the head, without a single word, unwholesome communication will come out because of where the gesture was placed and how it is expressed, and it could become a dart in someone’s very soul, in their identity, making them feel small, belittled and hurt.
May we heed the words of Paul and not let any unwholesome talk—whether spoken or unspoken—come out of us, as we make the opening verse of this devotion our constant prayer when we connect with others: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, do not let any unwholesome words, whether spoken or unspoken, come out of me. Instead, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You. Thank You, Lord.