"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)
I was in shock as I watched the explosion! Rude and venomous words were screamed out; words you don't want your child to hear. When the Little League umpire made a game-deciding call the coach didn't like, the coach made sure everyone knew how much he disagreed.
He got in the baseball commissioner's face expressing his irate opinion in no uncertain terms. To drive his point home, he marched over to the other coach and began to shout in his face too. This man had come completely unglued, spewing his anger on everyone around him.
The coach's lack of self-control and harsh words brought down two teams, their parents, and officials. His uncontrolled verbal explosion caused a ripple effect and ruined what should have been a great day for many people.
Maybe you've been caught in the path of an exploder too. One minute you're at a happy family gathering, and before you know it, a feud between your uncle and cousin escalates into a shouting match. One of them storms out, everyone else is stressed out and sad, and the day is ruined.
Perhaps you're at work ready to tackle the day only to be met by a disgruntled boss. He barks a few negative words and suddenly you are left walking on eggshells.
Possibly the explosive actions that make you tense are from someone closer, like a spouse or a child.
Or maybe the harsh behavior is coming from . . . you.
Our key verse, Ephesians 4:29, tells us to use our words to build others up. If we continue reading in Ephesians 4, we are told that we should also "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (vs. 31) Yet too often we react before considering this truth or a better response.
Sometimes curbing our anger and choosing calm words isn't what we want to do, or at times even feel capable of doing. Whether we are on the receiving end of the explosion, or the giving end, we have a choice in what words and tone we use.
God's Word encourages us to respond in a more gracious, effective and self-controlled way. By doing this, not only will our lives have less stress and more peace, but we will also be building up instead of tearing down those around us.
Dear Lord, help me think about how my words and actions affect those around me. I want to honor You is all I say and do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Think ahead and plan ways you can react the next time you are faced with a difficult person or situation.
Are you able to keep your emotions in tact or do you battle the need to be heard and be right?
Ephesians 4:31, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (NIV)
Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (NIV 1984)