When we discriminate and judge others, and when we think evil thoughts, our attitude and what we really think will be expressed in our communication.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7A

It is impossible to separate discrimination and judgment from corrupt communication. One will lead to the other.

II. Avoid Corrupt Communication

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. Ephesians 4:29

The word corrupt denotes rotten communication which tears others down (insults, name-calling, sarcasm, making fun, cursing, slander, flattery, gossip). Edifying speech builds others and lifts them up (encouragement, kindness, the Word, compliments). If we are unwilling to consume rotten, why are we so willing to spew out rotten? Paul tells readers not to use corrupt communication, but he gives an alternative. It is clear that we have a choice. God would not tell us to do something that we could not do. In I Corinthians 10:13 Paul writes about our temptations and explains that they are common to man, and that God always provides a way of escape from the temptation. God is faithful.

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6

Gracious speech brings joy and pleasure to others (genuinely sweet and charming). The contrast of corrupt communication is wisdom and grace exhibited in speech. Evil thoughts about others will not permit gracious speech. Knowing how to answer every man includes answering the man who uses corrupt communication, blasphemy, and hurtful words. Sometimes knowing how to answer every man includes speaking graciously to the person who insults our friends or family.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. Proverbs 15:1,2

Words can resolve problems and heal people and words can cause problems and harm people. Anger can become a vicious cycle; it will take a wise person and a soft (tender) answer to interrupt the cycle. Grievous words are painful and hurtful; they are used to cause trouble. A wise person knows what to say, and when to say it. He uses skill and discernment. Just because I/we know something doesn’t mean that we need to talk about it. Rather than waiting for the right time to communicate properly, a fool will pour out (pouring out or gushing forth) foolishness (one who mocks, quarrelsome). A wide open water faucet illustrates what it means to “pour out.” It does not drip, it gushes out.  When a water valve is wide open it takes a while to close. With this illustration you can see the damage that can occur by the fool who pours out foolishness. Even if he comes to his senses, it’s to late, the damage is done. You can see the parallelism in this verse, a soft answer-the tongue of the wise contrasts grievous words-mouth of fools.

I hope you are encouraged, but challenged to improve your thoughts and speech. I know that I am convicted this very moment.

Father, deliver us from rotten speech. Remind us that we can be wise and not foolish. Use your Spirit to calm us and control our speech.

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