Manifested grace: Ephesians 4:29 and why our words matter

Too many of'Miss A Writes a Song' photo (c) 2012, Denise Krebs - license: us live forgetting that the words we use carry weight, that there is power in what we say and what we write.

We throw out pithy Christian sayings and Bible verses out of context, and we cheat each other out of an authentic encounter with the Living Word of God.  We may quote Ephesians 4:29, encouraging each other to watch what we say and to honor God with our words, but in the next sentence we recklessly recount a man’s sins and cast judgment on the state of someone else’s faith.  And such a thing breeds confusion because there is no edification in condemnation.

And I’m not sure how to see Jesus in this kind of thing.


Perhaps it’s a sign of getting older and I hope it’s a sign of maturity, of having learned something from the difficult season I’ve found myself in over the last six months, but I’m finding I have less patience for this kind of thing.  Because what I’m craving most these days from my Christian brothers and sisters is consistency. 

I want to know that the person I’m sitting in church with on Sunday is also the same person I’m eating dinner with on Wednesday or having coffee with on Friday.  I want to know that when you say you’re praying for me, it’s because your experience has taught you that prayer changes things.   I want to know that when you quote a verse in a conversation with me, it’s not because you think you need to, but because your own story of faith has shown you its truth.

Because ultimately I need to know that you’re not full of it.


Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  -Ephesians 4:29

Ephesians 4:29 is a verse that reminds us that our words carry weight. It reminds us that conversations that happen in a moment can have lasting ramifications that are either discouraging or encouraging.  It reminds us that we should be aimed at edification and at building each other up.  And it reminds us that the way we talk to one another can manifest grace.

And grace manifests when what we say reflects the heart of who we are.

Grace manifests when we refrain from statements loaded with judgment; when we quit talking out of both sides of our mouths; when we stop hurling insults and calling each other names; when we tell each other the truth, even when it’s scary and vulnerable; when we invite one another to share our stories; when we pray for each other; and when we say outright, “I love you.”

And in these kinds of things, I see Jesus.

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