Changing the Way We Use Our Mouths Can Change Our World

If you know my wife, you would know that she is into studying nutrition, buying organic, and feeding us healthy meals. She reads books, websites, and seeks to learn how to feed our family better.  It's a general rule of nutrition that our body's health is influenced by what we put into our bodies.  If we eat good food, we will more than likely be healthy.  If we eat unhealthy foods, we will more than likely struggle with health problems.  Healthy food can help us overcome most illnesses and improve our overall wellbeing. 

We, in a weird sort of way, provide the nutrition for people's emotions and souls by what we say.  We can either build them up, like a good healthy carrot does for the body, and share God's grace with them, or we can tear them down, like a can of soda does to the body.  We might not see immediate changes; you often don't with nutrition.  But our words can build a framework for growth, grace, and faithfulness, or it can chip away at the foundation that is already there.

I'm not saying you can't be strong and spit out the rotten peas that someone is trying to feed you.  You can, and you should.  You don't have to be controlled by the mean things that others say to you.  If someone tries to tear you down with their words, just let it flow over you.  It's easier said than done, but it is what needs to be done to remain emotionally and spiritually healthy.  There is no need to let a mean person control who you are, but as for each one of us, we need to make sure we use our words to build people up and share God's grace.

Paul wrote, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" [Eph 4:29 (ESV)].

The word that is used here to describe "corrupting" in this verse is a word that describes spoiled fish, rotten grapes, and stones that are crumbling.  These things are useless.  On the other hand, the word that is used for "building up" is literally the word that is used in construction for building a house.  With our words we can be used by God to help shape those we encounter into the person He is working on them to become, or we can be used to destroy what God is making them into.  We have been given a great privilege in that God uses us to help shape those around us into who He created them to be.  We are instruments used by God to spread the grace of Jesus.  We are blessed to be part of the redemptive and restorative process of His kingdom.

Building up or tearing down is like the radio in my car.  My car radio reception is terrible.  Before I started my news fast, I used to listen only to talk radio; however, my car could not pick up any of the AM talk radio stations this far from Ft. Wayne.  So I would drive around in silence, not hearing the radio station signals unless I was close enough or the weather was just right to pick up the signal.  Spiritually, we are often like my car radio.  We drive around in silence, only hearing the voice of God when we are in church or doing our devotions, but the rest of the time we find ourselves tuned off.  We are too far away from Him to hear what He wants us to do and what He wants us to say to other people.

If we want to be people who are used by God to help construct other people's lives into what he wants them to be, then we need to be people who are being shaped by God every moment of every day into who He wants us to be.  God has made everyone in His image with a purpose for their life.  We need to see them in that image.

I don't know if you have ever heard of beer goggles.  This is the lingo that is used to describe the state a man or woman gets when they have too much to drink.  They reach a point of intoxication where every person of the opposite sex begins to look better looking than they actually are.  This is called putting on beer goggles.  It causes a guy to view an uglier women in a different light due to the alcohol flowing in their veins.

I would encourage you to not put on beer goggles, but to put on similar goggles, kingdom goggles. When you put them on, you begin to see everyone in the light that God sees them rather in the fallen light that reality shows them in. In God, the fallen can be great followers of Christ. In God, the weak can be strong in the Lord. In God, the blind can see what God is showing them. When we are so full of Christ and His cause, we begin to see people and the world the way he does. We see everything through kingdom goggles.

We need to find that purpose in our life and let it overflow into the lives of those around us.  When we are listening to God and walking in Him, we can be used by Him to help build up others.  When we are living outside of Him, we can be vicious, mean, and hurt those around us.

Viewing people as God intends them to be and using our words to help build them into that image is most important when it comes to those we are around the most:  Those in our biological families and those in our church family, those we work with and those we are neighbors to - we tend to take them for granted.  In doing so - as fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, co-workers, bosses, and neighbors - we miss out on helping to construct the world around us into what God has called it to be.  We need to focus on letting God speak through us to those around us in order to help shape them into who He created them to be.

Those we take for granted could be gone tomorrow, and the words you say to them today could be your last.  It's not a pleasant thought, but it is always the thought expressed by family and friends of a loved one who died unexpectedly from a heart attack or a car accident.  There is great peace in knowing  your last conversation was one of love and building it each other up, and the great thing is that is the type of conversation God has created us for.  May we be people who build up others all of the time.    

The old self tears down and destroys; the new self builds up and shares the grace of God.  Our words are the nutrition for others' souls.