In this article, we'll learn a bit about communicating with each other without worthless words.
In Ephesians 4:29, it says to not let unwholesome (foul, profane, worthless, vulgar) words ever come out of your mouth. Now, I don't know about you, but after a beer with some male friends on a boys night out, some foul words come out. Ya know what I mean?
But that's not what we're talking about here. We're not talking about some friends letting slip some f-bombs. We're talking about how a man can build a person up. Building people up. Blessing people with words that strengthen them up is a clear sign of a mature man, particularly when the words are specific, encouraging, thoughtful, or insightful words that need to be heard. Ephesians 4:29 is a spiritual truth from which to learn how to use speech that is good for the building up of others according to the need and the occasion. And there's a purpose for this type of communication. The purpose is to construct your words in such a way that they will be a blessing to those who hear you speak. Have you ever been in a conversation at a party, and you're talking with one or two other people. Then slowly you notice that a few others start to lean into your circle of conversation, and they start to listen to what you have to say, and you need others start to nod and smile as you speak in agreement. This is a moment that you see the importance of letting no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.
Ephesians 4:29 says, "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."
It's a Powerful Way to Live
Doesn’t this sound like a powerful way to live? As mature men, we want our mouths to speak that which is good. In the context of (or in the verses surrounding) Ephesians 4:29 are two verses that give us specific advice on how to do this. Ephesians 4:31 tells us what kind of communication to NOT communicate, to not use in conversation with others, to “put away." Ephesians 4:32 shows us what we can become.
What should we "put away?" Ephesians 4:31 says, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Let's look at this verse word by word.
Bitterness in this spiritual truth means like a poison. When something is bitter, it's sharp and stinging. Words can sting. Like a bad bee sting. They can't kill you, but man! they can hurt. Bitterness can build up in our thoughts and minds when problems go unresolved or when we hold onto grudges. When we have problems in our minds, our words are problematic. Therefore, we need to pay attention to our words, solve outstanding problems and issues with others, and "put away" bitter, stinging words.
Put away wrath. Wrath in this verse is like anger. Wrath can flare up like a flame. Anger can come out of us particularly when we feel tired. Therefore, get make sure you get some good sleep every night.
Anger used in this verse means indignation which has arisen gradually. It's like a lasting resentment. Prolonged and deep-seated anger needs to be resolved. Pray, ask for help from a spouse, consult with someone else, get help from a trusted friend or maybe even a professional therapist. To communicate well with others, we need to resolve all anger that's within ourselves.
Clamour is an outcry. Ever notice a loud, unruly man who speaks aggressively in a boisterous, brawling manner of speech. This is clamour. We want to put away this type of behavior. No one truly values an out-of-order, loud mouth. Those words are not graceful or good to the use of edifying, so we put them away.
Evil speaking is in reference to slanderous speech that is injurious to another person's good name. A spiritually mature man does not want to purposely injure another. But it can happen if we do not pay attention, if we are not mindful, of the words we speak. Therefore, think about what you say in reference to others. Speak well of others.
Malice indicates having ill will or a desire to injure someone or see them suffer. Simply, we are to put away all malice.
Out of the Heart and Buddha
Jesus taught that the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The Buddha taught others about using the right kind of speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we can become respected and trusted by others. Using the right type of speech is one of the noble eightfold paths of enlightenment. And using the right speech ultimately helps others to end their suffering. And what is the right type of speech? The Buddha taught other to abstain from using words that were lies, divisive, abusive, and idle chatter. This is called "right speech."
I agree. And this all seems to be truthful and helpful.
Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 shows us what we want to become by using good, right communication to others. We are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
Become Kind One to Another
Kind as it's used here means good, gracious, and easy. It carries the sense of being mild or pleasant as opposed to being harsh, hard, sharp, or bitter. When we are kind, we are actively doing good in spite of someone else's behavior.
Love is Kind
The love of God is kind, as I Corinthians 13:4 teaches us. And gentleness or kindness is a fruit of our spirit (Galatians 5:22). Kindness is spiritual in nature. The sign of a spiritually-mature man is one who is kind to others.
Tenderhearted and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Tenderhearted requires compassion. To be tenderhearted to others means being benevolent, empathic, and showing mercy. We should show, conduct, and express compassion to one another. And in doing so, we become tenderhearted. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught that the foundation of fearlessness of a warrior king is when that man renounces his hard-heartedness and allows himself to tender, open, exposed, and fully present. A warrior king is careful not to enclose himself with a thick impenetrable armour, but allows himself to be open, soft, and sensitive.
It can seem very difficult to be forgiving, but Ephesians 4:32 doesn’t stop at “forgiving one another.” The verse continues with “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” What does that mean? It means that for a man to become forgiving to another person, he must recognize that something greater than himself, the ultimate spirit of love, as has forgiven him in this ongoing process of life. We exist because of love and love keeps going. Like a river that flows. If someone has done you wrong, ask, "What's next?" Just as as the river flows, you have changed. You're no longer who you were before reading these words. And so, if you are to forgive others, you must understand that there's other processes in place that make that much easier than you think.
As we put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and all malice and become kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another, the natural result (the fruit that grows outwardly from the tree) will be words that are good to the use of edifying and words that minister grace to the hearer. This is an abundant and powerful way to live.
I hope you find this as some good advice for thinking, living and loving better. If you enjoyed reading this, you may want to check out "To Bring Suffering to an End, One Must Think."
I'm a manager. I manage my time, my finances, and my work and play. I manage to screw things up, and I manage to get things done. I'm a husband and a father, so I manage my family. I'm a boss, so I manage my employees. One thing I've learned, managing other people is difficult.
Don't avoid the difficult task of informing people when their work isn't good enough.
In Luke 6:31, it says to do to others as you would have them do to you. As a boss who tries to create a positive, enjoyable work environment where people enjoy their work and one another, this is a handy spiritual truth to remember.
One key to managing successfully that I've learned is to not sidestep the difficult task of informing people when their work is not good enough. This will unlock the door to successful management. You don't want to hurt people's feeling, but you owe it to them to tell them what is actually going on. Just as a manager relies on indicators of success, those who work for you also deserve honest feedback on their work.
If you care about the people that you manage, you tell them. Tell them what's up, how things are going (personally and work-related), and what can be done better to get things right. Praise when it's due. Provide honest discussion when their work is not providing what is needed. A lack of praise and criticism can be disastrous. As a manager, you need to be a guide. And guides communicate.
White Water Rafting Guide
I took a white-water rafting trip with my daughters 7th grade class. The guide in our raft was providing very clear and direct communication, signaling us to paddle in certain directions and with particular effort or speed. "Paddle." "Left turn." "Right turn." "Hold." "Paddle strong." Without communication from our guide, our time on the water would have been haphazard, frustrating and unenjoyable. Guides provide direct communication and feedback.
It's impossible to guide and manage others well without communicating. Managers communicate. They provide very direct, productive feedback. The encourage open and honest discussion. They help create an enjoyable work environment. And they also listen. I enjoy achieving results by listening and seeking to understand rather than telling people what do to.
Communicating involves listening to others. Feedback. Conversation rather than dictating. Debating before directing. Encouraging people to make decisions rather than deciding everything for them. Advising people instead of order them what to do. Managers are into learning as much as they're into knowing. There's a proverb (Proverb 18:15) that says an intelligent heart (your mind) is always acquiring knowledge, and the ear of the wise always seeks it out. You should listen with as much effort as put into learning.
In conclusion, enjoy managing. Manage yourself well. If you're a boss, treat others well by communicating with them. Managing others can be difficult, but not impossible. Be a guide. Be sure to listen as you learn. Others deserve to know how they're doing by you providing them with direct, productive discussion.
If you enjoyed reading that article, you may be interested in how communication relates to "Consciousness."
Friday night, my daughters were very busy with activities. My oldest had a sleepover with her good friend. My middle child had a basketball game and her team won. My youngest went dancing with her friends at a barn dance Friday night. I thought about what fine young women they were becoming. And how well they make friends and get along with others. Because they have that Word within them that makes them shine as bright lights. And they’re approachable and friendly. And they are willing to share themselves with others.
That made me think of a story about two men who lived a couple thousand years ago. They had a goal to meet others, share what they knew, speak God’s Word and to bring others to knowing that an abundant life is available to them. They each had the mindset of an ambassador for Christ. Please turn to the Book of Acts, Chapter 13.
What’s an ambassador? An ambassador is a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by a one country to another as its resident representative. An authorized messenger or representative.
To me, there is no greater goal one might have in life than to be the best ambassador of the more than abundant life, an ambassador for Christ, an authorized messenger of God’s Word, a representative of living with the unconditional love of God in a renewed mind in manifestation.
Barnabas and Paul
These two men who lived 2,000 years ago were Barnabas and Paul. They helped each other live the Word, and they both loved to speak the Word. In fact, they spoke the Word together for a whole year to many people in one city (Acts 11:26). After that, God wanted them to preach the Word in some new places (Acts 13:2,3). One day they were in a city called Antioch with the goal of telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation for them.
When they got to the city, they went to the synagogue, a place where they knew that many people of Judean background who had an interest in God would be gathered together. They attended the service there; and when it was done, the speaker asked them if they had anything to say.
Acts 13: 15: And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
They were given an invitation to speak, given an audience, and a wide open door to walk through and speak about the Lord Jesus Christ. But you know what? They didn’t start right off with waving a finger, yelling about getting saved, or condemnation. Nope. Paul was the one who did the speaking on this occasion, and he began to gain the attention of the Judeans in the synagogue by showing great respect and by finding common ground concerning what people believed in. Respect and common ground. This is a helpful key to beginning a conversation—just simple respect, easy talking, and finding common ground.
Acts 13: 16,17: 16: Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear [respect] God, give audience [pay attention]. 17: The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
Here, Paul reminded them of a very important event in their history as believers—when God delivered Israel out of Egypt. Then he went on to remind them of more that God had done for them, speaking of Samuel the prophet, King Saul, and King David.
After covering these familiar records of believers from the Old Testament, whom they respected, he introduced them to Jesus, explaining that this descendant of King David was a savior.
Acts 13: 23,26: 23: Of this man’s [David’s] seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus. 26: Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth [respects] God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
Paul then told them that Jesus had been slain but that God raised him from the dead.
Acts 13: 28-30: 28: And though they [the Judeans at Jerusalem] found no cause of death in him [Jesus], yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29: And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30: But God raised him from the dead.
Paul then told the members of the synagogue in Antioch that they could not be made righteous through Moses and the law — but only through Jesus who had been crucified and whom God raised from the dead.
Acts 13: 38,39: 38: Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness [remission] of sins. 39: And by him [Jesus] all that believe are justified [legally made righteous] from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
It was important for them to know that Jesus died for them and that God raised him from the dead, because a person gets born again by confessing Jesus as their lord and believing that God raised him from the dead. They also needed to know that through Jesus Christ they could be made legally righteous before God and enjoy God’s grace to them.
Not everyone believed Paul on that day, but some did. And many came back to hear more. The next Sabbath day, almost the whole city came together to hear the Word of God, and as a result, the God was talked about throughout all the region (Acts 13:44,49).
God’s Word was made known throughout all of that area, because each of these two men went into the city of Antioch with the mindset of an ambassador for Christ. Their mindset sounds a lot like the one we have. You and I. And this gives me an idea for something we all can do. How about we get up each day this week — with the goal of bringing the spiritual truths that we know — into our conversations — as we speak to others? Yes? Some people don’t know about God; others know him only a little bit. I encourage you to reach for that goal in life of being a good ambassador for Christ by reaching out to others with God’s Word.
For more articles for men about God, please read "The Goal in the Game of Life."
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