We’ve been studying words this week from a message my dad gave on Ephesians 4:29 entitled “Encourage.” We’ve learned that we are to put away all corrupting talk and instead speak edifying words. But not only should our words be edifying, they should also be “appropriate” or as it says in verse 29: “as fits the occasion.”
As women, we generally give due attention to our dress. When invited to a party, dinner, or event, we take great pains to ensure we are wearing proper attire. We would never attend a formal event in sweats, or waltz into a pool party in high heels.
However, I am not always nearly so careful with my words. I don’t stop to consider whether or not they “fit the occasion.” And yet, unlike my dress, words are of the greatest significance. For “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21)
That’s why Ephesians 4:29 is a much needed reminder to stop and listen before I speak. Proverbs 18:13 says: “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” And all to often I play the fool. Instead, I must consider the person to whom I am speaking. And I must choose the precise words that would serve them in that particular conversation.
First Thessalonians 5:14 is the “dress code” for our words. It tells us what words are appropriate for what occasion. “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
So let’s ask ourselves: does our child need to be admonished or forgiven? Does our friend need to be warned or comforted? Does our husband need to be counseled or encouraged?
We take great pains to dress appropriately for our own reputation, and yet when we speak appropriately, we bring honor and glory to God and bless those who hear.
“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Prov. 15:23).