My favorite animal in the zoo is The Gibbon. Gibbons are a species of apes that live in tropical and subtropical rainforest in Asia. They are very social animals, best known as “the singing apes.”
Gibbons are so loud that you can often hear their calls for up to 1 Kilometer away! Our family has spent many days at the zoo and every time we go, I like to make the trek over to visit The Gibbons so we can enjoy their social interactions as they call, sing, and harmonize with one another.
Gibbons are known for their distinctive voices.
There should be something distinct about our voices, as well. As the people of God, we should be well-known for our encouragement.
The Call to Encourage
Ephesians 4:29 says,
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
God has designed our words with the purpose of glorifying Him and building others up in Him.
Biblical encouragement is one of the chief ways we promote joy in the lives of those around us.
I define encouragement as that which instills courage in the heart of a believer for the ongoing fight of faith.
This week, we’ll look at the power, purpose, and potential of our words. Let’s start with the power of our words.
The Power of Our Words
I read a story about police in Los Angeles who had an easy time with a robbery suspect because he couldn’t control himself during a line-up.
When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot”, the real robber interjected himself and exclaimed, “That’s not what I said!”
Our words have power, don’t they? They give us away. The reveal what’s in our hearts.
Ephesians 4:29 teaches us that our words can go in one of two directions. They can either be “corrupt(ing)” or they can be (up)build(ing) to those around us.
Either our words are damaging, or they are edifying to those around us. They either inspire faith and courage in the heart of others, or they deaden souls.
They build, or they tear down. They hurt, or they heal those around us.
Proverbs 18:21 says,
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Clearly, our words matter. God instructs us to let NO corrupting talk come out of our mouths, BUT ONLY such as is good for building others up.
Where This Hits Home
My family and I recently returned from a trip to Knoxville where we had the opportunity to stay with some of our close friends for the weekend. Every time we interact with this couple, we leave encouraged, strengthened, inspired, and built up in our faith. Our souls are warmed as if they had been near a fire.
I want to be like this couple and build others up for God’s glory. They exemplify the beauty of Ephesians 4:29, and I have received grace from their words time and time again.
Isn’t it encouraging to know that God has designed our words to promote peace and unity among those with whom we have the privilege of interacting?
As those who have received grace and mercy from God, we have the opportunity, with every word and every interaction, to give grace to those who hear.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of this series as we look at The Purpose of Our Words.