Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29) 


We are called to respond, not to react to the words of others. As human beings, we have the tendency to react according to how we feel. God calls us, however, to die to our innate nature of how we want to speak and instead, practise discretion in our speech. We cannot choose to speak in whatever way we desire to because when we make fun of each other, as harmless as it sounds, we are unknowingly destroying each other. 


This is the power of the tongue – many times we do not have bad intentions when poking fun at others, but it affects the person on the receiving end. Our speech has the power to kill or heal others. Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18) 


Perhaps, instead of speaking with carelessness, complaining and bragging, we can intentionally choose to speak with discretion, give thanks and praise God. Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives; those who open wide their lips come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3) 


We are called to proclaim life-giving words into the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that is, to speak with truth and love. It is critical that we do not speak love without truth just to avoid conflict because it does not bring about growth in the other person. We are instead condoning the wrong actions or behaviour of others. Likewise, it is vital that we do not speak truth without love because by doing so, we can inflict hurt onto others. We offer encouragement because it gives courage, builds up confidence, brings hope and provides support to those who are struggling to see their worthiness in the eyes of our Father. 


Truly, we are called to grow closer to God not only through our personal prayer life, but also through building up the lives of the people around us and empowering them to be the best version of themselves. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4) 


It is perfectly fine to struggle as long as we have the desire to change. As long as we keep persevering in clinging on to the Lord, He will continue to pour out His strength into our hearts so that we can build up the lives of others. 


Rebecca Tan