Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
— Ephesians 4:15
A student who graces the college campus where I work always has a smile on his face and speaks with words that are kind and gentle. Proverbs 16:24 could have been inspired with him in mind! While a few well-chosen words are sweeter than honey, rash and poorly chosen words can damage and even destroy relationships.
The Holy Spirit calls us to speak the truth in love. Not everything that is true needs to be said, and when love is not the motive for what we are prepared to say, we would do well simply to remain silent. There is a right way and a wrong way to say things, and there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
It is easy for us to make excuses for our poorly chosen words. We often think and say things like “I’m just a blunt person,” or, “That’s my nature,” or, “I just say it the way I see it.”
However, there is hope for all of God’s children. In Ephesians 4, Paul gives helpful advice about putting off falsehood and speaking truthfully, avoiding unwholesome talk, and building others up. When we walk with the Holy Spirit, we are changed. With the Spirit’s help we can change the way we speak in our homes and workplaces, in our churches, and in the world.
Father, help us to choose our words well, building others up in faith rather than hurting and tearing down. May our words be attractive to all who don’t yet know you as well. In Jesus, Amen.