These "Minor" Things
(#344 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Let no corrupt communication [foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk] [ever] proceed out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress [edification] of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace [Yahweh’s favor] to those who hear it. (Ephesians 4:29)
Corrupt, as in corrupt communication, is in this case a modifier (an adjective) describing the thing, as in the “type” of language or speech. These are dirty, foul, unkind, rotten, useless, unfit, poor quality, putrid, and worthless words. And yes, this is certainly an accurate depiction of the command. But, let us take a slightly different perspective and instead of modifying the thing, “the communication,” let us speak to the action of what is happening. We are reminded of James 2:18 where we are taught that simply describing faith is not where the power is, but the power is in the action, the doing. The Hebraic perspective is always in the doing. “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Mighty One, Yahweh is one! You shall love Yahweh your Mighty One with all your heart [mind, will, intentions, emotions], and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) The Hebrew “Hear” means to listen and obey, to hear the words and then show oneself obedient to them. The action is where the power is!
Let’s, therefore, take another look at the idea of “corrupt”, this time from a Hebraic action perspective. What is the power in the corrupt words, not just the juicy description of what corrupt words are? The words are not simply foul and useless; they possess power that triggers decay, rotting, festering, wasting away, melting, dwindling, and dissolving; they cause a fall. It is not simply that these poor quality words emanate from the lips; it is that they create death! Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21) Again we are reminded of James. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell… It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:5-6, 8)
Corrupt words caused the fall! “Did the Most High really say not to eat? You will surely not die! The woman you gave me! The serpent deceived me!” (Genesis 3:1, 4, 12, 13) The Adam in us knows that it takes only one wrong thought for the entire cascade to begin. Fallen thoughts are followed by fallen words, which precede fallen actions. They trigger decay, rotting, festering, wasting away, melting, dwindling, and dissolving of everything around them. Corrupt words start an avalanche of destruction. What the mind thinks, the tongue professes, and the physical world obeys. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
This is a never-ending pattern that must be understood and dealt with. With acceptance of this Holy standard comes the inexcusable reality that there are no idle thoughts, no minor words, and no insignificant proclamations. It is only the corrupt "self" that allows you to think that thoughts and words are minor things. "If I don't murder or commit adultery, I’m good." Yet, if you hate your brother in your heart (mind) or call him a fool you have already murdered him. If you undress that woman with your eyes or make lustful comments, you have already committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:21-30). There are no idle thoughts, minor words, or insignificant proclamations.
A great price was paid to save your mind. There is nothing worse than minimizing what that sacrifice meant to Yahweh. Giving yourself room to have a sloppy tongue is like trampling His Son underfoot and counting His shed blood as common (Hebrews 10:29). It would be better that you had not been born than to live like your thoughts and words don't matter to Him.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Most High. (Matthew 4:4) Your words, like His, have the power of life and death. Why not choose life? Ezekiyl prophesied to the dry bones, “Hear the word of Yahweh!” And they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army (Ezekiyl 37:4-10). Every thought matters loved one, and now it should be obvious that every word that emanates from those thoughts also matters, every word. So, think life and then speak life!