Tuesday, October 12, 2004
One thing television has done for us - it's made us all more self-conscious about our breath. The commercials keep coming. Years ago it was, "Don't broadcast bad breath." More recent commercials talk about your "wake-up breath." You run from people who want to kiss you because you have to gargle first. You got to get rid of that morning mouth. Well, these kinds of commercials sell a lot of mouthwash, toothpaste, breath mints and breath drops. I just wish there was a mouthwash for the really gross mouth problem.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Verbal Halitosis."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:29. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This word unwholesome is interesting, "don't let any unwholesome talk come out." It means decay. It means rotten. It talks about rotten fruit. It talks about spoiled fish. Don't let any rotten apples or spoiled fish come out of your mouth. It's a strong word. It's not just unwholesome. We're talking here about verbal halitosis.
What if we taped your conversations over the last few days and played them all back? Telephone conversations, what you said to your family members, your angry moments, your stress moments. Is there any talk there that would tear a person down? Critical, negative, complaining, some put-down there, a little sarcasm here, maybe you had the last word that ended the argument, but it wounded someone you love.
Listen to this: "Do not let (That means, stop it. Don't let it) come out of your mouth" - that kind of hurting talk. The Bible says "the tongue has the power of life and death." Proverbs (12:18) says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword." You've got to ask the Lord to help you hear those spiritual alarms that go off before you're about to say something that's really hurtful. We've already done it enough for a lifetime. Stop it before it comes out. It's like a bullet coming out of a gun. You can't stop it. You have to stop it by not pulling the trigger. Once it's sent to its target, it's just going to do its damage.
Interestingly enough, God provides a "do" here for the "don't." He says, "Don't let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth." He says, "...but talk building-up talk" - things that build up other people. You need to look at that other person as a person who's under construction - a person you're building. So ask yourself, when I talk to that person, did I build them or did I bulldoze them? It's a strong follow-up here in Ephesians 4:30, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." In other words, you make God cry when you tear down a person He's trying to build. So look out for that rotten, spoiled garbage that so easily spills out of your mouth.
It doesn't take long for the words to come out, but the damage can last a lifetime. We never forget the insults. We never forget the names we're called. We never forget the criticism long after the person who has spoken them can't remember them.
Spiritual halitosis - it's not just dangerous because it smells bad, sometimes it can even leave life-long scars. Let's follow what the Bible says: "Guard your mouth."