There once was a poor, rural family who were greatly concerned because their little boy had not started talking. The family didn't have many resources to call upon, so the problem went on for a long time. One day, while the mother was making supper, she became overwhelmed and lost her concentration. She burned the meal. After she served the meal, the little boy tasted it and hollered, "I can't eat this. It's all burned." Shocked but happy, the mother hugged the child and asked, "Why haven't you been talking?" He said, "Up to now, everything has been OK."
I've been that little boy way too many times. I hold in the encouraging words of affirmation and the compliments that would brighten a person's day while freely complaining and criticizing over the smallest of things.
When I read the New Testament I am convicted about the way I sometimes speak, but encouraged because God has given me direction in this area. Check out these verses:
"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." (Ephesians 4:29)
"Let your speech always be with grace." (Colossians 4:6)
"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." (Colossians 3:8)
"...and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5:4)
Prayer: Lord, help us speak words of Grace and Love. May our words pick up and and build up, not tear down. May we encourage, not discourage. May we give thanks and not complain. May we glorify and bless Your name, Oh God, by letting our speech be pure and holy to Your ears. Amen.
On the Journey Together,