While riding in the car one day I began listening to a "talk radio"
station. Just as I tuned-in there was a caller who had posed a question
to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a popular psychologist and talk show host. I
gathered that the man was asking if it were appropriate to tell his son
about something that had happened before the young man was born. Dr.
Laura asked, "Why do you think you need to tell him?" The caller
replied, "Well, I think since he's grown now he needs to know." Then,
much to my surprise, Dr. Laura asked, "What are you, a hippie?" The man
answered with stunned indignance, "No. Why would you ask that?" She
replied, "Well, that's the hippie mentality, 'just let it all hang out.'
The hippies thought that they should say anything and tell everything
they wanted to."
Dr. Laura then asked, "Will it help him to know that?" The man pondered,
"I don't know. I don't guess. But I just thought since he's old enough
he had a right to know." Then the doctor went on with an explanation
like this: " Age has nothing to do with it. There are some things that
we just don t need to know, no matter how old we get. There are some
things that we're better off never knowing. I've tried to live by this
philosophy-If it doesn't benefit anyone just don't tell it."
While I rode along, I remembered several Scriptures. One was Ephesians
4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that
which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto
the hearers." At home I began to study about it. We all know that to
"edify" means to build up. The word translated "grace" is "CHARIS." This
is derived from a word meaning "gracious (as gratifying), of manner or
act, literally and figuratively spiritual....acceptable, benefit, favor,
gift, grace (gracious), joy, liberality, pleasure thank (thanks,
thankworthy)." [Tnis is from Strong's] I'm sure that all of us remember
wonderful studies on the word LOGOS, which means "something said
(including the thought) and by implication a topic (subject of
discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive." Then we
heard explained that the most important use of the word by far, is when
John in chapter one of his Gospel employs the article with it making the
meaning of LOGOS "the Divine Expression-that is Christ." Jesus Christ is
the expression of God (John 14:9).
The term in Ephesians 4:29 rendered "bad word" ("corrupt communication"-
KJV) is "word" or "utterance" coupled with SAPROS, which is a term
meaning rotten, that is, worthless (literally or morally). The
lexicographers tell us it here means "a bad, corrupt, account,
communication." Furthermore it has to do with "intent, matter, mouth,
preaching, question, reason... speech, [and] talk... utterance, word
I thought it interesting that Dr. Laura, although Jewish, stated that
she lived by a philosophy of life that is found in Christian teaching.
I looked at the Williams Translation of Ephesians 4:29 and thought I'd
share it with you. It reads, "You must stop letting any bad word pass
your lips, but only words that are good for building up as the occasion
demands, so that they will result in spiritual blessing to the hearer."
There are some conversations that benefit no one. Have you ever had an
evil thought about someone? They might have hurt you in some way. If you
say something spiteful about them to another person, who has been
edified? Certainly not the person you are trying to get back at. Have
you built up the person you are talking to? It is absolutely of no
benefit to anyone spiritually.
Why do we try to edify the people around us? The answer is simple -
"love!" If we happen to have an "enemy," our love for them will motivate
us to seek their welfare. We will do our best to make a "friend" out of
them. If they are in a lost condition, our love - kindness and concern
for their soul - may help them change and be saved. If we don't want
them to go to Heaven we don't love them, and we won't make it to Heaven
either. When we don't have Christian love we are open to all sorts of
sins. Selfish motives cause us to say things that don't benefit the
hearers. Examine what you are saying and if it doesn't build up it needs
to be left unsaid. It is certain that if we will always allow ourselves
to be led by a spirit of love we will try to build each other up in the
Years ago, a younger Christian man came to my dad's office. After a few
minutes of light conversation about thmgs going on that day, he said,
"Brother Nichols, the Bible tells us to edify one another. I've been
here 15 minutes ana you haven't edified me... Edify me!" My dad was a
little surprised and amused by that, but he began to talk about things
that might help build up the young man spiritually.
All of us would be better off and better equipped to edify each other if
we would love everyone as we are commanded to do in I Corinthians the
thirteenth cnapter. We can test our love by an examination of this
passage. It says, "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it
does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a
wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with
the truth; bears all things, believes an things, hopes all things,
endures all things" (Verses 4-7 NASB).
If we think evil thoughts we will speak evil things. Jesus said "For out
of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the
good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man
out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things" (Matthew 12:34-35).
Obviously what each Christian needs to be able to speak good things,
beneficial and edifying things is a heart full of those thoughts.
So, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is
right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if
anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever
you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it
into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians
4:8-9). Communicate your hurt feelings and needs to God in prayer, and
just leave some things unsaid.