I have been thinking a lot lately about conversations. We all know that conversations can make or break a relationship. All it takes is one wrong word or something said in the wrong way to destroy a friendship. On the other hand, words can strengthen and encourage another. There are always issues to talk about at home, in marriage, at work, at church, and in casual friendships. As significant as the concerns might be, more importantly is how a person communicates in expressing views, opinions, and feelings.
Words can determine a person’s destiny, to not amount to anything, or to accomplish great things. We hear a lot about positive self-talk that can determine one’s outlook on life. Words have power!
The Bible has much to say about speech and conversations. First of all, let’s see what to avoid. Ephesians 5:4 says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place…”. Continuing in Proverbs 11:13 we read, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets…” There should be no part in gossip, saying things about others that are not true, or saying things that can destroy a person’s reputation. Second Timothy 2:23 says to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”
When we do speak, at times it may be necessary to restrain our words, as spoken in James 1:19. “…let every person be quick to hear, and slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” It is interesting that this verse associates anger with being quick to speak. On the contrary, “whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27).
Godly speech consists of grace and salt, mentioned in Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 4:6. The Ephesians verse says, “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.” As God gives us grace, our conversations should speak grace to others, appropriate for the need of the moment. In Colossians, grace should be “seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person.”
Salt is a preservative that also adds flavor, but can also cause thirst. In Matthew 5:13 Christians are exhorted to be “the salt of the earth.” So, through conversations we can help preserve and develop a thirst for righteousness. This is a tall order that can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit and focused attention. James 3:7 says we must learn to “tame the tongue” to spew out grace and salt.
To close, here is a good verse to memorize. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer”(Psalm 19:14).