“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.”
In this verse, Paul tells us that everything that comes out of our mouths should be edifying to others. Our words should not tear other people down or belittle them, but should instead build them up and encourage them spiritually.
Dictionary.com defines “edify” this way: “To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.” Wow. How often does your conversation do something like that? Can you say truthfully that when you talk to others, you leave them feeling encouraged, refreshed, and spiritually improved?
This may seem like a tough task. But you don’t have to be super theologically deep to have an edifying impact on others. Grace-filled conversation begins with small things. For example, Paul says not to let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth. The first step to edifying others with our words is to stop saying negative words. This includes gossip, lies, half-truths, malicious statements, unkind language, prideful speech, and disrespect. Cleaning these things from your words is a huge step toward being one who ministers grace!
Another step in speaking graciously is to begin consciously thinking of how you can build others up when you talk. This doesn’t mean empty flattery, and it’s not just making someone feel good about themselves. If someone is going through a tough time, encourage them. Talk about what God is teaching you lately. Ask what He’s teaching them. Speak respectfully and kindly to all people, especially your parents. Strive to have conversations that are purposeful, honorable, and kind. When you talk to your friends, speak truth to them. God’s Word is the most grace-filled thing that can come out of your mouth.
Learn to filter your speech through grace. If you’re about to say something, pause for a moment and consider whether it is beneficial to the person you’re talking to. Will it encourage them? Help them improve spiritually? Will it hurt someone else? Wise speech is always filtered first.
Above all, remember that all your speech should please God. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” If you’re obeying this verse, there’s a good chance that what you say will be edifying and filled with grace.