During the last few weeks of school and the first couple of weeks of summer God has been giving me a verse. It has been popping up on my Facebook feed, as a topic on a radio program and even in a card. Through different interactions with friends it has even come up in our conversation.
Ephesians 4:29 (NET), “You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
I love this verse, I use it with my students and I try and live by it. So, when it started to come up I was quick to say, “Yes, Lord, people need to hear this. Some are so quick to call other people names for not believing what they do. We should be building each other up.” I hear adults yelling at each other in front of their children at the beach, or calling other people names. I never said anything to them, but I would ask God to give me words in those situations.
Then a situation presented itself to me. “Why can’t you just finish the job you were given?” the mom said to her child. I saw that boy’s eyes start to fill up with tears. Ephesians 4:29 pounded in my head and my heart sank. Not for the reason you may think. My heart sank because that boy was my son. Those words came out of my mouth.
I quickly tried to fix it, but just as you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube, my son can’t unhear those words. I realized Ephesians 4:29 had been coming to me for me. Not for me to necessarily use with others. Matthew 7:4 (NET) says “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own.”
Yep, I was a hypocrite. Right then and there I challenged myself. I challenged myself to live Ephesians 4:29 every day. It is hard, but I am working on making my words building words; words that will be edifying to those they are spoken to.
Our words are powerful. Florence Littauer says that our words need to be silver boxes in her book Silver Boxes. I picture that our words are gifts that we give to one another. What we say and how we say it determines how those gifts are wrapped. As a parent, I want to give my children the most beautifully wrapped gifts I can. To do that I am choosing my words carefully. Instead of saying “Why can’t you just finish the job you were given?” I can say, “Hey, do you need help cleaning up after dinner?”
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me build others up with my words. Especially during those times that I feel my patience running out. Help me see the better way of saying things to my family, friends and those around me. I especially want to build my children up as they are getting ready to go out into the world without me. In Jesus’s Heavenly Name. Amen