Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.Ephesians 4:29 (New King James Version)
This passage can be applied to more than just speech. It also applies to how we speak through social media posts or what we say when we interact with people face-to-face.
1. What is corrupt communication and how can we avoid it
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth…
When reading this, one may think that “corrupt word” means profanity but it goes further. Some have said that corrupt communication is when grace is absent from your speech.
People who speak with profanity may not care or think about how it affects the person or people listening to them. The person speaking may not care how the language they use affects the people around them, but it impacts the listeners negatively which is why believers must avoid talking like this. The Greek adjective translated as “corrupt” literally means “rotten or putrefied; unfit for use; worthless.” Physically, the word was used to refer to things like rotting fruit. Figuratively, “corrupt” describes language that is rotten or that spreads rottenness. (Source)
2. How do our words affect others
…that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Words matter because what we say has the power to turn people toward Christ (Ephesians 4:29) and help them grow in Him (Colossians 3:16). With them, we can create life or death (Proverbs 18:21). They can also have a profound effect on those around us. Words can open up somebody’s day or shut them down completely; make somebody smile or make somebody angry; encourage somebody or discourage someone; cause somebody to be peaceful or incite others into violence; anger God or please God; inspire people or induce apathy.
Even those who don’t want God in their life will still be affected by your words. We have a responsibility as Christians to speak life. In Matthew 12:37 it says that
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.Matthew 12:37
3. How does this apply to social media
When using social media, we may not realize how our posts affect others until someone responds negatively or something negative happens because of a post. Remembering Ephesians 4:29 can help us avoid corrupt communication through social media posts or interactions with people face-to-face.
Graceful speech is not only Christlike but is humble and willing to serve others. True love for God and others should guide what we say, or it may have damaging effects.
4. Change your words and change your world
Words matter! Words have the power to change a person’s life in a good way, but also can be used negatively. The ones we use to create an opening up of opportunity but also can close many more. It is important to think before we speak and be mindful of what comes out of our mouths. Jesus says it’s not what comes in the mouth that defiles a person but rather what comes out. Matthew 15:11.
If we want to see more of God’s kingdom come on earth, then our words need to start reflecting that. Our words can either break us down or build someone up. We must be mindful of the words we use and their effect on others.
The words you say have a profound impact on not just your listeners but also yourself. Do not let corrupt communication come out of your mouth, as it may defile you.
Let’s be intentional about our words today so “that it may impart grace to the hearers!”