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.
Refrain Then Replace
Using ungodly language is such an easy habit to get into. People misuse God’s name every day. Dirty jokes are easy to remember and, sadly, often get a good reaction. Harming someone else’s reputation is, unfortunately, usually super satisfying. All these bad practices are what our Bible reading for today refers to as unwholesome. You know they are wrong, but you are rarely called to account for them.
Stop it. Refrain. Get out of the habit. Tell people to remind you. Do not go back to the habit. Confess your sins to the Lord. Ask him for forgiveness.
Because Jesus never used ungodly language, never misused the name of God, never told a dirty joke, and never hurt another person’s reputation, but still died to take the punishment for those sins, you are forgiven. Your mouth is cleansed. You are wholesome in God’s sight.
You may still notice that the whole unwholesome talk habit is hard to break. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is great advice, but very difficult to carry out.
Here’s some help. When you are tempted to say something bad, say something good instead. What counts as good talk? Anything that is helpful for building others up according to their needs. This includes compliments, encouragement, and solid advice. You know those things are right.
Refrain from unwholesome talk. Replace it with wholesome talk. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. If you struggle with that, steer the conversation toward Jesus, your Savior. That will always benefit anyone who is listening.
Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 695)
Lord Jesus, take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee. Amen.
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