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Updated: Jun 30, 2022

Ephesians 4:29

“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 the Greek text, the word “corrupt” is the sapros, a word that depicts something that is putrid or rotten

The word “communication” is the Greek word logos, which simply means words. But when it is used in conjunction with the word “corrupt,” the Greek phrase describes words or forms of communication that are putrid or disgusting to the recipient.

The word “edifying” is the Greek word oikodomeo and, as used here, means to build others up. These words never result in tearing someone down, but rather cause others to be left in an improved state after we are done talking to or about them

Today I call your attention to this biblical reference.

Many observe the precepts of the decalogue with absolute earnestness and vigilance, fearing to trample upon its sacred borders, but this text, Ephesians 4:29 is not considered significant after all.

“It is quite fine, and of no consequence if I hurl words at my spouse that wound their innermost soul, and drive them to tears, but to kill or commit adultery I will not, for those are bigger sins that invite God’s wrath”.

Isn’t this the manner of reasoning of some who are considered guardians of the Faith?

You see, friends, In God’s economy, this sin of nonchalantly hurting each other with bitter and insensitive words are not of less magnitude than those committed by the drunkard or prostitute who have not yet seen the Light.

The fact is, everything about corrupt communication has a putrefying effect on others. Proverbs 16:24 reminds us that “pleasant words are…health to the bones”. The converse is also true. Unpleasant words are unhealthy to the bones. They dry up and destroy the bones.

Think for a moment about the child in middle school who is considered a good piano player by his mom, but the peers taunt him that he always makes a mess at playing the piano. Forty years later, he confesses that he never tried at mastering the piano since the days of middle school, because of the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of his friends.

Think about the spouse whose career has been crippled, because their partner always reminded them that they can never be proficient at anything.

I have spoken to people in their sixties, homeless and disenchanted with life, who reported that they never rebound from the spell of demeaning and disparaging words hurled at them in childhood, by parents who were oblivious of the destructive power of negative utterances.

May the mental and psychological wound inflicted upon a spouse due to a blatant disregard of this divine injunction jolt us to an understanding of the enormity of this sin. It is no light matter to belittle, disparage and dehumanize another with our words.

It is an index of the condition of its source, the heart, and God would have us repent with bitter tears, resolving that by His grace, there will not be a repeat performance.

To hold grudge and harbor hate, to verbally assassinate another with our thoughtless and ill-advised speech is a sin from which we should pray earnestly to escape.

See this poignant statement from the pen of inspiration:

"God does not regard all sins as of equal magnitude; there are degrees of guilt in His estimation, as well as in that of man; but however trifling this or that wrong act may seem in the eyes of men, no sin is small in the sight of God.

Man's judgment is partial, imperfect; but God estimates all things as they really are. The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked.

But these are sins that are especially offensive to God; for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe."

Steps to Christ, 30.

Instead of spreading communication to vilify or tear down, may the divine spirit inspire us to utter words that edify, words that cause others to be left in an improved state after we are done talking to or about them.

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