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Use Your Words to Build Others Up
By Rick Warren

“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)

Sometimes our words are like a sledgehammer. We swing away without thinking, and suddenly we look around and realize a pile of relational rubble surrounds us. When you thoughtlessly sling your words around and tear people down, your relationships are going to suffer.

But God wants you to use your words to build others up. Ephesians 4:29 says, “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” (NIV).

One reason we’re not effective with our words is we don’t realize how our mouths and words are powerful, God-given tools. We say things without thinking. And people remember them.

Maybe you can still remember certain things people said to you in a careless way—even as far back as grade school. That’s how powerful words are. So when it comes to the words you say, think of them as a power tool and be extremely careful.

One time I went into my garage and grabbed a manual for a power saw. As I was reading through the directions, I was struck by how the use of a power tool relates to the words we choose to say. The directions said:

1. Know your power tool.

2. Keep guards in place.

3. Be careful around children.

4. Store idle tools when not in use.

5. Don’t overreach.

6. Never use in a volatile atmosphere.

How can you use your mouth more carefully, so you are using it to build relationships and not to tear people down?

1. Stop excusing. Stop saying, “I didn’t really mean to say that” or “That’s just how I am before my first cup of coffee.” Realize that what you say impacts everybody around you.

2. Talk less. We often get in trouble because we just don’t know when to stop talking. If it’s a power tool, you shouldn’t have to use it as much, right?

3. Listen more. If you listen more, you can better understand people’s needs.

4. Start building. Let your first thoughts be, “What does this person need?” “How can I use a word of encouragement to build him up?” “What can I say to make a difference in her life?”

Consider making this part of your morning prayers: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 NIV). 

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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