Daily Devotional

Published: August 20, 2018


Taming the Tongue

Friday, September 22, 2023

Scripture: "Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them" Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Observation: Corrupt. Gr. sapros, “rotten,” “putrid,” “bad.” In Matt. 7:17 sapros describes a corrupt tree, and in Matt. 13:48 inedible fish that were thrown away. Foul speech is the sign of a corrupt heart, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). Profanity and obscene jests and songs, even the frivolous and insipid conversation, have no place in the Christian’s life; indeed, they are the hallmark of the unregenerate spirit.
To the use of edifying. Literally, for the “upbuilding of the need.” Compare the translation, “edifying, as fits the occasion” (RSV). While speaking does not always have to be of a somber or even serious character, it should always edify or build up, making men better than they were before they heard the words. As in v. 28 the Christian’s work was to be for the benefit of others, so here his words also are to be for the good of his fellow men. Not only indecent speech but also that which is selfish, malicious, critical, or suggestive, corrupts. Here again the apostle seems to have in the back of his mind the central theme of his epistle—unity. That which does not edify tears down, and is therefore to be discarded. Compare 1 Thess. 5:11–14. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (1028). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application: How many times have we uttered harsh or hurtful words that we have regretted later!  Oh the tongue is so hard to tame!  It seems that before we know it we can say words that we will later regret. There are many actions that we can un-do, however, we cannot put words back into our mouths. It is far too easy to speak first and think later. In so doing, however, we may end up leaving a path of destroyed relationships.

The ones that get the worse of our words is oftentimes our own families. It seems that we have an easier time taming our tongues when we speak to co-workers or even strangers. Why is that?  Do we let our guard down when we are at home?  Is it that it is no longer important for us to "be on our best behavior"?  Isn't it true that all too often we hurt those who are closest to us and those that we love the most?

The fact of the matter is that words spoken in the home are more important than anywhere else. Afterall, consider the consequences of a failure to follow the above scriptural advice in our homes. Ponder the importance of being a positive role model to our children. Would we want them to go to school and repeat the same words that we speak in our homes?  Good communication skills is one of the most important things that we can teach our little ones. The
truth is that good communication is "caught" rather than "taught". Children catch on to the tone of our voices, the way we handle conflict, as well as the actual words that we use.
Consider how you have communicated to your family this past week. Have your words been used to build up or to tear down?   Have they been used to encourage or to discourage?  Have they been helpful or hurtful? Perhaps we need to seek forgiveness from our family members and, with God's help, commit to use words that reflect the Lord we serve.

A Prayer You May Say: Lord, put a guard on my lips. May all that I say today be acceptable in Your sight!

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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