“And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” – Ephesians 4:29
Have you ever heard of having a “life verse”? If not, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a Bible verse that deeply resonates with you and thus that you choose to remember throughout your lifetime as a source of encouragement and/or personal challenge.
Well, I selected my life verse when I was in middle school – Ephesians 4:29.
You see, I’m a natural optimist. You’ve probably heard people describe life as a cup half empty or a cup half full… but I’ve almost always looked at life as a cup filled almost to the brim. So I naturally gravitated to this verse because it was about encouraging others and helping them to see what was already in their cup.
Back when I picked this verse, we used the NASB version a lot, so I memorized it like this: “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.”
Then two years ago, I was introduced to The Passion Translation of the Bible and fell in love with it. My pastor explained how the translators went back to the Hebrew and Greek to translate, but instead of word-for-word, they worked on translating thought-for-thought into modern English. The thing that is so cool about this is that it gives a fresh perspective on familiar verses.
A few weeks ago, I read my life verse in The Passion Translation, and the Holy Spirit convicted me. I had spent most of my life focusing on the second part of the verse, the part about good words and encouragement. The part that says, “let my words become beautiful gifts that encourage others.”
But this verse is a two-part command, and before you can speak beautiful gifts into the lives of others, the Apostle Paul says that you have to stop speaking bags of trash. The translation says, “NEVER let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth.”
Never. That’s a very long time, you know. It doesn’t say “be careful” or “don’t do this very often”; it says “never.”
Never say something ugly about the coworker that slacks off.
Never say something ugly about the customer that pays their invoices a month late.
Never say hateful words about the coworker that beat me out in a promotion.
Never say hateful words about the boss or manager that micromanages.
I could go on, but I’m pretty sure you get the idea.
James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sisters, this should not be!”
ALL of our words matter.
This week I’m going to focus on the words that come out of my mouth. Instead of anything ugly or hateful, I’m going to wrap up my words as a beautiful gift and deliver grace to the person that receives them. Whether you have a life verse or not, we could all pin this verse up, so that we are reminded of it often. You may even choose to memorize it.
I also encourage you to listen to this PowerPod about how speaking and acting in a way that conveys love, dignity, and respect can transform your workplace. To listen CLICK HERE or go to: https://www.iwork4him.com/podcast/2021/the-power-of-love-dignity-and-respect
Used with permission from Jim Brangenberg.