Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
This passage of scripture speaks to our dire need of temperance in the area of speech. The words "No corrupt communication" refer to anything that does not edify or build up. This particular admonition is very important to us in our day where we are surrounded by radio and television shows, books and magazines that ooze gossip and slander. The national Enquirer magazine prides itself in exposing all of the gory details of the personal life of stars, and often goes to the extent of creating untrue accounts of individuals with the sole purpose of tearing down and disparaging them, and then their articles are bought and read with intense interest, so that the pernicious habit of character assassination is duplicated by millions.
Any words that do not brighten the pathway of others, even though they may be true, are best left unspoken, except in cases where the hearers should be warned or benefited by such speech. The Bible places a very high premium on words that are spoken, whether good or bad, because, like the pebble that is thrown into a stream, they always have a ripple effect, either for good or for evil. Let's read:
Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
One of the more common ways in which intemperance in speaking is indulged, is in the many television shows that celebrity judges host, where family members and neighbors, expose to the world the mistakes and short-comings of each other, and millions watch as families and friends are torn apart, often to the delight and applause of the viewers. Another way in which intemperate speech is manifested is when married couples go on television and recount their most private business to the listening ears of people who should never have been be privy to such information.
The Bible teaches us to be circumspect in all that we do think or say, and it is true of the gospel, that when applied in practical ways, it never degrades a person, but rather lifts them up. This is what Christ did when He was reviled by the multitudes, when untrue statements were made pertaining to Him, and when malicious hands buffeted Him. Instead of revealing to the world, the dark secrets of Herod's life, or the brinkmanship of the Jewish leaders, Jesus humbly kept His composure while the mob carried on with their lies and false accusations. We are therefore to take a page out of His life for He is our example in all things. Let's read:
Matthew 27:12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
1st Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
In our day, the followers of the Lord Jesus need to be very careful lest our minds be infused with the spirit of evil speaking and slander. We need to be very careful lest the habits, customs, and practices of the world invade our thinking and we be imperceptibly changed for the worse from the inside out, for words that are not of the right order not only hurt others, but they also react upon our own selves, aligning our hearts and minds with that which was spoken.
We therefore end this brief commentary with a passage of scripture that points us to Christ as our example in temperate speech, and we hope and trust that we all may adopt His methods and mannerisms. Let's read:
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
May the Spirit of God abide in us that the attitudes of Christ may be reflected in and through us, for the wise man says there is a time to speak, and a time to refrain from speaking. "Good night" and God bless!