In our chapel class this week, our scripture focus was on Ephesians 4:29. In that verse Paul exhorts Christians to not use unwholesome words but to only speak words that edify and encourage those who hear them. Generally, when people hear that verse, they automatically think Paul is saying we should not use curse words. And while that is true, it is also true that curse words are not the only words that can hurt others. Even everyday words, pleasant sounding words can be spoken in such a way that they hurt and harm others. As followers of Christ, our words should serve to bring healing not hurting. Our words should serve to encourage not discourage those who hear them.
As we discussed the impact our words can have on those who hear them, we took time to remember that the words we use also impact ourselves. Sometimes, we speak to ourselves in ways that only serve to bring us down rather than build us up. It can be easy to dwell on past mistakes and speak critically and harshly to ourselves. “What were you thinking! You are so stupid! You will never learn!” Although we can easily recognize the harmful impact such words can have on others; we may fail to acknowledge the harmful impact such words can have on ourselves. And while it is good to admit and learn from our mistakes, it is not healthy to dwell on them and continually beat ourselves up because of them. Paul says in Ephesians 4:32 that we are to “be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving others just as God through Christ has forgiven us.” As we extend encouragement, kindness, and forgiveness to others, let us also extend encouragement, kindness, and forgiveness to ourselves.