We should abandon condemnation, judgment, condescending speech, harsh – mean – sarcastic criticism
Read the New International Version of Eph. 4: 29vsf… 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.
Read the New American Standard Bible Translation of Eph. 4:29 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, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Note something that the Lord put the spotlight on for me:
Our words should be framed in such a way that they bring edification (strength of building – strength of character) to those who listen. Paul is saying that this should be the case, not when we see perfection and feel compelled to compliment it, but rather when we see imperfection. The NIV says “according to their needs” the NASB says “according to the need of the moment”. How many times do we see needs (lack and imperfection) with people around us. The constraint of the carnal nature is to criticize that imperfection, talk about it with others and point it out with a demeaning spirit. This is not the ministry of the Spirit through us or the voice of the Spirit in us. He wants us to build people up, give them dignity and strength when we see their imperfection.
This reminds me of how coaches relate to an athlete who they have drafted and who they believe has great potential. We should not berate one another, tear down one another, condemn one another. What good does that do? We can bring much more good through encouragement, through wisdom, through kindness, through knowledge, through understanding and positive speech.
Let’s put this to work today and abandon all negative – uncovering speech.