Speaking Only What is Helpful

Today, I’m thinking about Ephesians 4:29 and really sinking deeply into it. Take a look:

“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.”

What a challenge! What a privilege! Oh, that I could speak words that were helpful for building others up and that benefited them greatly.

I look up the word for “building others up,” and it means to promote growth in someone and to increase their happiness. I also examine the phrase “that it may benefit.” This phrase in the Greek means to bring joy, loveliness, strength, and loving kindness.

I also note with great conviction the phrase “according to their needs.” Not my needs, but their needs. This means I must discover what these needs are. This means listening patiently with love and taking myself out of the center of the universe.

Do my words promote growth or foster shame and criticism?
Do my words increase happiness or do they spread negativity and despair?
Do my words bring about joy, loveliness, strength and loving kindness?

To speak only what is helpful provides a timely check on what comes out of my mouth in friendship, parenting, marriage, and on social media.

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  1. Thanks for that. I think “according to their needs” is the tough part. As parents we have to assume, at least at first, that we understand our kids' needs better than they do. I think it's all too easy to carry this over to our other relationships as well.

    I find myself having to stop and think “is this what *I* think she should do, or what she want to accomplish?”