Choosing Wholesome Words

I love Ephesians 4:29: “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” (NASB). Could you imagine our world if everybody lived by this principle? A pipe dream, maybe, so let’s scale it back to our marriages and our homes. Would adopting this as a practice change the atmosphere in our homes? Most certainly!

Edification is actually an architectural term that simply means “to build up.” Applying that to marriage, we could say to speak only those things that build up your mate and your marriage. To borrow a colloquialism from our day, how you doing with that? The purpose of communication is clearly revealed here in Ephesians: to edify or build up so as to impart grace to the hearers. A lofty goal indeed—and we all fall short. But it is an excellent guide to help us discern what we should say and what we should not say.

Notice the first two words of Ephesians 4:29: “Let no.” That is a command, something we are expected to do. But it’s also a choice, as evidenced by the word “let.” We can “let” or “not let” corrupt words come from our mouths. By that I don’t just mean profanity—though it is certainly included—but words that do not edify, impart grace, or build up. These are unwholesome choices that have no place in our relationship with our spouse.

I think we can all recognize that adopting such a tactic in our homes would force a lot more “think before you speak” into our conversations. If the conversation filter is, “Will this encourage or build up my mate? Will our relationship and therefore our home be built up by what I am about to say?” it will naturally slow down the rapid-fire and often hurtful retorts that we have all given or received. When you are having a discussion with your spouse, do not allow corrupt communication of any kind to proceed from your mouth just so you can make your point. Yes, it may feel good to let that zinger fly, but I guarantee you, you’ll regret it. When tempted to say something you shouldn’t, remind yourself that the choice to disregard your words is a decision to disregard God’s command for communication. That raises the bar a bit, doesn’t it?

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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