LOVING WORDS IN COMMUNITY
Read: Ephesians 4:25-32
” 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ” (NIV Ephesians 4:25-32)
Study: These verses set out a remarkable standard for Christian interactions, calling Christians to live by a simple guideline: “Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community. One aspect of using language wisely, hinted at in James and present in today’s reading, is silence. Silence lets us listen, which is vital for speaking in ways that build up. When is it helpful to hold back a comment or observation, even if it might be accurate? Ephesians 4:25 also quoted Zechariah 8:16: “Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor.” When is the truth so helpful that it would be wrong to keep silent?
Prayer: Creating, Redeeming God, your gracious acceptance has brought me life. Give me the courage to speak truth in love, the humility to say I’m sorry when I’m wrong and the heart to forgive others who admit a wrong. Amen.