“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.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
I’ve heard this verse used to condemn cursing, yelling, gossiping, and speaking ill of someone when you’re angry with them. It fits perfectly into all those scenarios.
But what if we attributed it to talking about ourselves? How many times have you said you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or were a bad partner or parent? The verse is very clear that we should only say what will encourage someone on a personal level. What areas in your personal life do you need to be built up in?
Do you need endurance during a time of financial hardship? Instead of saying “I’m never going to get out of this,” say “With Jesus, I will get through this.” Wouldn’t that build you up?
Are you feeling like a failure in your job or marriage? Don’t say, “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.” That’s Evil talking. Say “I can do this with Him who lives in me.” Wouldn’t that encourage you?
Think of how you could inspire “those who listen” by making this change. Think of non-believers in difficult circumstances who want and need that peace you’d be talking about. Think of the waves of love and grace that could wash over our homes, churches, and neighborhoods if we stopped beating ourselves up and instead built ourselves up in Christ.
Speak graciously of yourselves, dear brothers and sisters. You are God’s child, and He doesn’t like anyone picking on His kids.