Life can be quite overwhelming for all of us. Family issues, financial crises, unending wars and everyday routines can make any one of us want to give up on any given day. And don’t be a black woman. Like any other “double minority,” there is another set of complexities that comes with our lives. But whether you’re black or white, male or female, economically and socially privileged or deprived, as a Christian you are required to rid yourself of slanderous talk. This is not easy, so here are a few more tips:
Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)—We are told to tell the truth, but we must remember to be mindful of how we tell the truth. We can’t simply say that we had to tell the person the truth; we have to ask ourselves our motive behind why we are going to say what we intend to say. We not only have to make sure our motives are right, we have to check our tone of voice, the timing of what we say and the place we choose to say it. Our heart could be right, but our voice could betray us. Speaking to someone when they’ve just had a traumatic experience may not be the right time to tell someone that they’re shiftless. And doing so in front of friends may leave them embarrassed and hopeless. Speaking the truth in love is summarized with Ephesians 4:29:
“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.” This verse tells us to speak what is good so that we edify and minister grace to others. Good has several meanings but the one that I believe applies to this verse is “useful.” Our language should be useful so we build up (edify) others, particularly promoting “another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness” (Blue Letter Bible Concordance). And we should deliver this useful message with grace, which is “good will, loving-kindness.” Anything short of Ephesians 4:29 is slander.
So whether we like it or not, want to use it or not, Ephesians 4:29 applies when you’re happy and when you’re sad. It holds true when you’re healthy and when you’re ill. Ephesians 4:29 must be in the forefront when you don’t like your husband and when your kids get on your last nerve. When someone is rude or mean to you, tries to discourage or hate on you, you must invoke Ephesians 4:29. If you’re angry or bitter, let Ephesians 4:29 help heal your soul and perhaps the soul of the person who has offended you. Even if the other person is not healed, know that God sees you and is pleased. Let’s strive to make pleasing God our only motivation to speak what is good.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith