Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
I chose to re-post “God is in the Silence” because the Lord took me back to it a few days ago, and it was a balm to my spirit. I need to be reminded that a day filled with noise isn’t natural or healthy. And I also need quiet to frame my own words in greater clarity. There’s nothing like silence to highlight the true nature of the words coming out of my mouth. When my mind is quiet, it’s easy to hear whether my words build or destroy.
To Build or Destroy is in My Words
One of the reasons that silence is so essential is that it washes my spirit. It’s as easy as breathing to imbibe the spirit of your surroundings—restaurant, store, movie, family dinner, church service, funeral, you name it. When quiet times (plural!) are built into my days, it’s much easier to shake off the clinging noise. Without quiet, I don’t always know that I’m perpetuating the loud spirit that I’ve picked up along the way. And it’s rarely edifying to me, let alone anyone else in my life.
We’re all pretty aware of the obvious ways that our words build or destroy. “You are a gift from God” – those words build up. “When children look at you, they weep and call for their mothers” – those words destroy. What I’m more cognizant of today is the spirits carried by words, and not so much the words themselves.
If I’ve been soaking in the manic din of election news, my words can carry that rage or hysteria, even if I’m saying, “God bless you.” Likewise, if I’ve just spent time in the presence of the Lord on the way to the grocery store, the love and peace of God is carried in my words, even if all I say is, “Two pounds of roast beef, thinly sliced, please.” My words build or destroy depending on the spirit that flows out of my heart and mouth with them.
Knowing When My Words Build or Destroy
The Holy Spirit is faithful to tell me when I’ve sinned with the content of my words. And He’s no less faithful in identifying the crud of the world when I’m coated with it. I’m struggling with this, of course. Lately I can’t read a single newspaper article without being covered in tar, so walking out this new revelation is tough. And in that sense, silence has been such a gift!
I can’t keep myself in this, and God’s not asking me to do that. He’s showing me that unless the Spirit leads me to an article or book or dinner or store, I will get soaked. I’m protected in Him, not out on my own, doing as I please. Do my words build or destroy? That’s a deeper question than I once thought.