Don’t Say That Word
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
When a grandchild gives instruction, I listen.
Our youngest grandchild celebrated his second birthday this year. Though he was slow beginning to talk, he has caught up nicely. Over the last few weeks, he has begun talking in sentences—which has made his grandparents’ job a little more difficult as we try to understand what he’s saying. From the beginning, we taught him not to say shut up. Hush was a better word choice in our opinion.
Enter our mouthy Chihuahua who needs to be told to hush numerous times each day. As I issued those instructions one day, my grandson politely said, “No, you don’t say dat word.”
“What should I say?” I asked.
“You say, ‘Be quiet.’”
Where he learns some of the things he says, we’re not quite sure, and saying comical things just seems to be a way of life for him.
One Bible translation uses the word unwholesome instead of foul or abusive. At first glance, I might associate this with the third commandment not to misuse the name of the Lord. In other words, don’t curse. But the instruction goes much further than four-letter words, so avoiding cursing won’t let me off the hook. And while I think more about bad actions grieving God’s Spirit, unwholesome language will also do the trick .
Speaking words that reflect bitterness toward another person is unwholesome. Gossiping will accomplish the same thing, whether what I say is true or not. Some things are just better left unsaid. Processing anger in unwholesome ways is also a part of the mix—as is having a bad attitude and letting my words reflect it so everyone else can see it plainly.
Asking whether what I’m about to say is necessary, true, and uplifting is a good place to start, but I can’t stop there. Examining the root source my words are arising from and considering the words I’m acting out in pictures, are important too. If I don’t get to the source, I’ll keep saying “dat word.”
What are your words saying about you to others? Think before you speak and honor God with your words.
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Martin Wiles is a minister, author, speaker, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com), a devotional ministry helping those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon.