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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

How To Avoid Speaking Evil Words

People laughing on everystockphoto by joaquinuy

Conviction

My wife and I had enjoyed lunch and conversation with some close friends.

But while driving home I felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction — and immediately knew why.

It’s because (to my shame) I had said something funny that made us all laugh at another person’s expense.

But as the Holy Spirit convicted me, it didn’t feel so funny.  It felt ugly.  Unloving.  Evil.

I could feel the Holy Spirit’s grief.  And I remembered Ephesians 4:29 —

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.

But my talk had not given grace.  It had been corrupting — because I had led all of us into laughing in a way that dishonored someone else.  So why did I do that?

My Heart

Jesus explains in Matthew 12:34 —

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart.  So my evil words had come from evil in my heart.  And what was that evil?

Earlier in the day I had started to worry, but had not taken my worry to the Father.  I did not fight to trust God’s promises, and to rest in Christ as my all-satisfying Treasure.  Instead, I turned my back on God and wallowed in unbelief.

But Hebrews 3:12 says unbelief is evil.  So I had evil in my heart which, according to Jesus, meant I was spring-loaded to speak evil.

Fast forward to lunch.  Since I hadn’t turned to the Father, I was still worried.  But worry doesn’t feel very good.  So at one point I tried to comfort my worry by having us talk about something that was both funny and that made me look better than someone else.

The result was corrupt words — evil words — words that brought harm to someone else.

And where did those evil words come from?  Just like Jesus said — they came from evil in my heart.

What Should I Have Done?

I should have avoided corrupting talk, and focused on talk that gave us grace and built us up in Christ, like Paul says in Ephesians 4:29.

But how?  Should I have just gritted my teeth and TRIED to do this?  That’s not Jesus’ way.

Jesus said — “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).  So, if the mouth speaks from the heart, then the way to change the mouth is by changing the heart.

So earlier in the day I should have turned to Christ, confessed my unbelief, and received assurance of complete forgiveness.

Then I could have fought the fight of faith through prayer and God’s Word until, by the power of the Spirit, I once again felt the peace of Christ ruling my heart and overcoming my worry.

Then — with my heart comforted and filled by Christ, my words would have been humble.  They would have been kind.  My passion would have been to speak of Christ in ways that built us up and brought us grace.

And we would have left lunch with more grace, more joy, and more of Christ.

Next time, by God’s grace, that’s what I’m going to do.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto by joaquinuy.)

Category: Anger, Love, and Forgiveness

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your blog. It has helped me a lot in understanding God’s word. God bless you.

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