Chaplain’s Column: Avoiding Hurtful Words
Scripture: Ephesians 4:29
Ephesians 4:29 says “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.”
Another resolve that will help you live without marriage regrets is this: “I will avoid hurtful words.” Words are like nails–you can remove the nails, but the hole remains. And it is the same way with hurtful statements you make to your mate. Over life I can remember situations in which a husband or wife will recall a statement the mate made ten or twenty years ago. The offending party has completely forgotten about those statements, but the hurt person remembers the conversation verbatim.
Our words are very powerful. The Bible says, “The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). Just as one spark can destroy an entire forest, so one hurtful word can destroy the spirit of a marriage. That is why it is so important that if we are going to have a regret-free marriage, we need to learn to avoid hurtful words.
Paul gave us a great filter through which to pour all of our speech in Ephesians4:29: “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, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Using that verse, let me suggest an acrostic that will help you remember to filter your speech to your mate, built on the word T-H-I-N-K. The “T” stands for “true.” Is what you are saying true? Paul says we ought to lay aside all falsehood in our speech. By the way, when you say to your mate, “You always,” or, “You never,” usually you are not speaking truth. Make sure your speech is true. The “H” stands for “helpful.” Is what you are saying helpful? Our goal should be to help, not hinder our mate. The “I” stands for “inspiring.” Paul said our words ought to edify. That word “edify” means to build up. Do your words build up, rather than tear down, your mate? The “N” stands for “necessary.” Is what you are saying necessary? You don’t need to express every thought you have. Paul says to speak only a word according to the need of the moment. And then “K” stands for “kind.” Is what you are saying kind? Our words to our mate ought to be laced with grace. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Please remember those on our prayer list.