It doesn’t take much for a coach, parent or teacher to get under a teenager’s skin. Sometimes the tone chosen is demeaning. Others come across as pompous or smug, alienating the individual they are talking to. Meanwhile, impatient adults have a tendency to take out their frustrations upon young people, creating an even greater generational gap. This disconnect proves that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.
When you are reading a book, sometimes the context of previous events isn’t a hundred percent clear. Thus, you are forced to go back to make sure you haven’t missed anything important. In the passage above, you have to understand who Saul was before he changed his name to Paul. This former Pharisee was a perfectionist, critical by nature, eager to point out flaws. Therefore, the words Paul choses serves as a reminder to himself and his leaders within the church at Ephesus to focus on the positive, not the negative.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.
While writing a letter to a teenager, Paul reveals an important truth about the Holy Spirit. Although the world tends to emphasize imperfections, staying optimistic isn’t impossible. Rather, one of the fruits of God’s spirit is self-control, the discipline to control your own tongue. The language you choose to express daily is a conscious decision. Unfortunately, many don’t realize the power of words. Every coarse joke, put down and sarcastic remark influences others in a negative manner. Therefore, make sure the next time you open your mouth, you think before speaking for it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
by Jay Mankus