Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. - Ephesians 4:29
How do we use our words? We can use our words to lift up or to put down, to harm or to heal.
And sometimes our words are 'rotten' (which is literally what the original Greek word in this verse means); words that spread rottenness like bad fruit, words that make people feel rotten in their heart, or words that make people think rotten thoughts about others.
It can be so easy to make a joke at someone's expense, or to join in when people are gossiping about a mutual friend. It can make us feel accepted and part of the group when we put other people down. We can get a laugh, or get approval. But sometimes it's worth stepping back and asking, 'What is the affect of my words on others'?
The alternative is to use good words, words that build people up, "that your words would be an encouragement". Our words have the power to instil strength in others, to make them feel hope or comfort.
Sometimes we worry that it will be awkward or weird to complement someone. But I want to challenge you to give it a go this week! Tell someone when you notice they’re doing a good job, or even when they’re putting in a big effort. Tell someone when you notice they’re gifted and they’re making a difference. Tell someone you believe in them, that you’ve got their back. Lift them up when they’re getting tired or discouraged or worried or sad. Let’s be a community that lifts up, not a community that tears down.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
And if you would like to read our bible study on the topic of encouragement, you can find it here.
Grace and peace,