A Closer Walk
The words we speak have an impact on those who hear us speak. Because of this fact the Apostle Paul encourages us to speak with grace. "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person," Colossians 4:6 NASB. Let your speech always be with grace. The word grace means unmerited favor. So even if the person we are speaking with deserves speech that is, shall we say, less than graceful, we are directed to give graceful speech anyway. Let your speech ALWAYS be with grace.
"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God," James 3:8-9 NASB. James devotes over half of the third chapter of his book to a discussion about the tongue. Our tongue. Yours and mine. He describes the tongue as restless; meaning looking for something to do. Sometimes we speak when it would be better not to. On other occasions we may say the appropriate thing, but it comes out wrong, so it might convey a different message than we intended. This could be hurtful, or sound critical, when neither is what we meant.
"...For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart," Matthew 12:34 NASB. Jesus tells us that we speak out of our heart. Then whatever fills the heart will, at some point, find its way to the tongue. If our hearts are full of pitchforks and brimstone (anger and malice), that will find its way to our tongue. If our hearts are full of daffodils and rainbows (love and mercy), that will also find its way to our tongue. Because the mouth speaks out that which fills the heart. Is it possible then, that a tongue problem is actually a heart problem?
The Apostle Paul encourages us further. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear,” Ephesians 4:29 NASB. But only such a word as is good for edification. The dictionary defines edify (the root word of edification) as: “to instruct or improve morally”. In churches edify usually means build up, or cause to be built up. So, our words should be used to build up those who hear them. The hearers would be encouraged, nurtured. And we would know that we have, in effect, watered someone's garden, so to speak. They have been built up and affirmed, which helps them grow in the Lord.
As believers we may catch ourselves from time to time saying things we wish we hadn't. Sometimes we may even need to apologize for something we said. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Without Him we wouldn't even recognize that we had said something we shouldn't have. So take heart fellow believer, and take comfort in the fact that our Heavenly Father continues to work on us, and with us. And let your speech always be with grace.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer," Psalm 19:14 NASB.