Do not let any rotten word proceed from your mouth, but only what is good for servicing someone’s need, in order to give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Gracious words can flow from the joy of our hearts, through others’ ears, to the joy of their hearts. This is amazing! It’s also daunting. For the fruit of our lips to be sweet and ripe, the root of our heart must tap into the soil of God’s grace, because we can’t get good fruit from a rotten root. Fortunately, the opposite is also true: We don’t get rotten fruit from a good root. “Our mouths speak out of that which fills our hearts.” By teaching ourselves to be sensitive to the working of God in our lives, we’ll be able to maintain a healthy root and the kind of talk that becomes grace to our hearers. Sensitivity to the needs of others is also necessary if we desire to extend grace to them. When we learn to understand people, we will know how best to package our ideas in order to achieve the optimum impact—Ideas do have consequences! Solomon says, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” The patience and insight necessary to accurately perceive others’ needs will arise as we contemplate the joy that we’ll gain by communicating in a way that helps them. This joy is much greater than the fleeting pleasure we might experience by dropping rotten words around the camp.
Lord, thanks for the encouraging and energizing words comrades have given me. Enable me to have the same effect in their lives too.