You rush in from work, late again, determined to put a hot meal on the table. While perusing the pantry, you grab items to go with the chicken you picked up from the nearby drive-thru. In an effort to make the meal, um, “well-balanced,” you open the refrigerator in search of a vegetable, or at least some fruit. You pull out one of the drawers, and there they are: rotten tomatoes—moldy, mushy, squishy, stinky tomatoes.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). The Greek word Paul used for “unwholesome” could also be used to describe rotten fruit.
Our words expose what’s in our hearts. This is especially evident when something just “slips out” before we can catch it. As Christians, we are to pay close attention to our conversations, because unwholesome talk comes from an unwholesome heart. If we find ourselves saying worthless, hurtful, unwholesome, or angry words, we need to examine ourselves.
In his message “The Challenge of Christian Conversation,” Dr. Stanley says our speech should have these three characteristics:
Our words should build up others.
We should say what needs to be said at the right moment.
Our speech should be gracious and kind, a blessing to someone else.
No one likes to be around rotten fruit. If we find ourselves throwing hurtful words before we can stop, we need to pray for God to guard our mouths (Ps. 141:3-4) and for the Holy Spirit to help us discern the cause of our harsh speech (John 14:26).
Because the last thing we want in our lives is a drawer full of moldy, mushy, squishy, stinky fruit.
Dr. Stanley teaches us how to carefully choose our words in his message “The Challenge of Christian Conversation,” airing today on radio.