Unwholesome talk

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

Our words can tear people apart much more easily than we can put them back together. Speech is a wonderful gift of God but we so often misuse it. 

Unwholesome speech was a problem even in the apostle Paul’s day (there really isn't anything new under the sun). He reminded the Christians at Ephesus that they should put away vulgarity, lewdness, slander, and obscene talk from their lives. These were expressions of their old lives, and it was now out of place with their new identity in Christ. Instead, their lives were to be characterized by wholesome speech. Their good or wholesome words would give grace to the hearers. The Holy Spirit would help guard their speech, convict of any filthy talk, and help them to use words to benefit others. 

For those who work in an office, or have a lot to do with their local church, mothers group or even the bible study group — unwholesome talk can easily occur through gossip.  Someone starts to talk about another and before you know it, the talk has moved into an area that is most uncomfortable and unedifying and sometimes it can be hard to back out once we are firmly part of the gossip. 

The Greek word translated “unwholesome” means rotten, useless, or unprofitable.  John Piper observes that such rotten speech, like rotten fruit and rotten fish, will not nourish anyone. It contaminates. It will make you sick. And, it smells bad and creates an unpleasant atmosphere for anyone who gets near it. So Paul tells us to get rid of it like rotten fruit or fish. (source) Linking the smell of rotten fish to the idea of gossip should put any of us off every gossiping, it really does sound foul and more than unpleasant.  

As believers, we must never bad-mouth the boss, the company, one's husband, mother-in-law or anyone else. I also like to think we should be very careful what we say about governments/leaders, yes, we can dislike them but when we use nasty, crass or vulgar language  publicly to friends or even strangers, we certainly aren't behaving Christlike and our language will be seen as very unedifying  and most certainly does not impart  any grace to the hearer. 

We need to watch what comes out of our mouths and ask God to make sure that what we say is a benefit to those listening. Those at work can really have an impact on others by what they say (and what they don't say). 

An unknown poet wrote:

A careless word may kindle strife.

A cruel word may wreck a life.

A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A loving word may heal and bless.


  1. I started reading a book about this last night. I am becoming more aware of my words these days. Not that I use bad words, but don't always say nice things. Sometimes I scare my own self with my negative thoughts.

  2. This is such a good reminder. I need to be more careful , and Christlike, with my words. The tongue surely is a powerful tool that can tear down or build up.


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