Links Daily Devotional

Trash Talk

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. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)

“You’re an idiot!”

The words were spoken with feeling and intensity, and they were meant to sting. Coming right after a three-putt for a par by a professional golfer, they might have been spoken by someone who had a bet on the match, but as you may have guessed they came from the golfer herself.

The practice of giving grace to those who hear by the words we speak begins with self-talk.Two things about that incident, which I witnessed, surprised me. The first was that I didn’t know women talked like that. OK, I guess I did, but I still think women are “more equal” than men so I’m taken aback by that kind of public display.

The most surprising thing, though, was that I was hearing those words on a golf course and they weren’t coming from my own mouth and weren’t directed at me. That’s the way I normally hear them.

Yes, there are times on the golf course when I am prone to self-berating. And times off the golf course, too. Perhaps you yourself have fallen victim to this kind of negative self-talk. Does it help? Well, no.

A phrase like “You’re an idiot” fits the definition in today’s verse perfectly—they are corrupting words. Trash talking your opponents is common in professional (and even college) team sports. It is less common in golf, unless you play with some very close friends on a regular basis. But it happens far too often, I think, when we talk to ourselves.

Paul is writing here primarily about our talk to and about others, but his advice should also be applied to ourselves. The practice of giving grace to those who hear by the words we speak begins with self-talk.

So from now on I’m going to be kinder in my speech to myself, even if I am an idiot, and use words that build up. For I, too, am in need of grace.

Lewis Greer
August 2, 2016
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