"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Unwholesome talk

I think God likes to rearrange, challenge, and push my definitions from time-to-time.

Unwholesome talk: I would say that this has not been a particular struggle for me. Even as a non-believer and early in my walk with Jesus, I have never been a big cusser. I am not prone to crass words or crude jokes. In fact, as long as I can remember, I have always been bothered by it.

Reading this morning in Ephesians, I had a mild shock when I realized that God contrasts unwholesome talk with "words that are helpful for building up others" (Ephesians 4:29). Essentially my kind Father instructs me to not say this (unwholesome talk)... but instead say this. ...instead say "words that may benefit those who listen".

I read this and, I believe, the Spirit of God poked me a bit with His Word. It became very clear that my words are not always helpful. My words are not always building up others. And, my words are not always benefiting those who are listening. I sat for a moment and asked the Lord for direction here. Quickly I was reminded of very recent instances where my words were boastful, complaining and even slanderous.

Looking up the Greek word for "unwholesome" at Blue Letter Bible, quickly reveals to my heart that the talk that God is referring to here is not only dirty talk, cussing, or foul jokes. This word in Greek means anything that was worthless or rotten. It means anything that is of "poor quality".

When I complain to my husband or winge about a certain circumstance or person, are my words good quality (as opposed to poor), valuable (as opposed to worthless) and pure, untainted (as opposed to rotten)? Are they helpful for him? Are they building him up?

Where is the balance between expressing honest emotions in a safe context and slander? Where is the balance between venting genuine hurt or valid feelings and complaining? I really don't exactly know the answer. ...But, I want to ask Father for His direction. I need His guidance and His clarity.

We have always told our kids, "If you tell me once, it is information. If you tell me twice, it is complaining." Is this the standard?

What is God's standard for unwholesome talk... I think He is redefining and refining this for me today.

Father keep me aware. Make me aware. Help me to have a keen sensitivity to sin. Please Lord keep a guard on my tongue and help me to take all thoughts captive, making them obedient to You, Your grace and Your truth. Teach me Lord what it means to not let any unwholesome talk come out of my mouth. I want to learn, Lord.
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