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By Mike Stickler
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.
I like men - real men. You know the kind of guys who like sports, hunting, camping, fishing, and don’t mind getting into the mud. They will say phrases like, “Man up” or “Don’t be such a wimp.” And other more colorful phrases… sometimes going from colorful to off-color. It almost becomes a one-up competition.
I have a mentor who is one of those guys. He’s a man’s man. ... a diesel mechanic for over 30 years. ... served in Vietnam. … deeply committed to Jesus Christ. If those phrases turn from colorful to off-color, he would simply say, “Mike, that’s a lower form of communication and you’re better than that.”
But I think the Apostle Paul in this verse only refers in part to that type of speech. I think the weightier meaning is that we should be more measured in the things we say, be more intentional in our listening, and weigh our responses with wisdom and discernment. Our words should be a gift, presentable and honorable for the hearer. Our generous words should be well timed, not in a quipped comeback; but, more a reflection that sees into the moment‒as God does. Our generous words would always build up the hearer, encouraging them forward into the grace of Christ, allowing the listener to see the value that God has for them through you.
Being generous with our words is so much more than avoiding the silly little off-colored things we might have said. It’s the words that become disarming, supportive and real that make a difference in people’s lives, words to build them up into the fullness of Christ has call for them. I don’t speak of self-esteem. I speak of Christ-esteem for each of us.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Do you find yourself dragged down into the lower forms of communication? Cruel sarcasm, verbal bullying, foul language, etc.? When you do, turn around! Say to those who heard your comment, “I’m sorry, I should not have said that.” Or “I didn’t mean that as it came out. I meant to say…” Try “I didn’t give you the respect that you deserve as you shared with us your situation. I am sorry.”
Write you learned about yourself here. Remember, your discoveries may just help others reading!
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.