Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Unlike many of his letters, Paul didn’t write this one specifically to fend off any particular heresy. Instead his intention was to build up the church in Ephesus with words of teaching and edification.
The letter begins by stating many of the benefits of being in the body of Christ. One of the more important and well-known passages is that of (Ephesians 2:4-8). Here we are reminded of the gift of grace which all Christians rest under in Christ Jesus.
Believers are told that through the blood of the Savior on the cross, we have reconciliation to the Father. And because of this sin sacrifice, the blood of Christ continually washes away our sins, as long as we remain faithful to Him. We have done nothing to earn it, this is a gift from the Lord. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (V 8).
After reminding them, (and us), of God’s wisdom, love, and purposes, we come to our passage for today. Here we are reminded of how a Christian is to conduct him or herself among fellow believers, as well as, all other people. We have the duty of shining our Godly light in order to build up the church and help to put forth the proper example unto the world.
Paul begins in (VV 29-30) by telling the church not to speak with any unhelpful or coarse manner of words, but only in a way which will help build up others. If we don’t control what we say, or how we say it, we not only risk harm to the people we are talking to or about, but we grieve the Holy Spirit with whom we are sealed for the final Judgement.
Building on this thought in (V 31), Paul tells us to rid our hearts of malice, hard feelings, and anger which make it difficult to control the way in which we talk to others. Obviously if we harbor ill will towards someone, it will be much more difficult to master how we speak to them!
This notion is enhanced in (V 32) as the apostle encourages us to be “kind and compassionate” to one another. Along with this comes a reminder to forgive each other in every circumstance, because we have been forgiven by Christ in the very same way.
Although this sounds like fundamental Christian living, (and it is), taming the tongue is one of the most difficult things we must learn to do. In the book of James chapter three, the scriptures tell us of the evils of the tongue, and the challenging task we have in bringing it under control.
Of course, often times what we say comes from what we feel. This is why Paul is right in advising us to get rid of all unhealthy feelings and thoughts we may be harboring. We will not be able to sincerely speak well of others and encourage those around us unless we bring the love of Christ into our hearts.
If any of you have a troubling time in any of this teaching and would like to discuss it, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to help in any way I can. May the Lord always bless His children who are shining His light in this world!
Refs: ~Google ~ biblegateway.com ~ “The NIV Study Bible, copyright 1995, Zondervan” ~