"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." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
The third principle for connecting with people is to be constructive with your words.
Use your words to build people up. Ephesians 4:29 says, "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" (NIV). God wants us to take these words and use them to build people.
Did you know that the words that come out of our mouths are like a tool? Sometimes they're like a sledgehammer. We swing away without thinking and end up with a pile of relational rubble. Sometimes they're like a saw, cutting people down. If we keep using these tools, inevitably our relationships are going to suffer.
One reason we aren't constructive with our words is we don't realize how powerful they are; yet, I bet you can still remember things people said to you in a thoughtless way as far back as grade school or college. That's how powerful words are. They leave a lasting impact. So when it comes to your mouth, think of it as a power tool and be very careful with it.
Here's how to build instead of destroying with your words --
1. Stop excusing. Stop saying, "I didn't really mean to say that." Realize that what you say impacts everyone around you.
2. Talk less. If it's a power tool, you don't have to use it as much. One of the reasons we get in trouble is we just talk too much sometimes. We need to talk less and then ...
3. Listen more. If I listen more, I can understand people's needs.
4. Start building. Think first of all, "What do they need?" How can I use a word of encouragement to build them up? How can I use a word of challenge to make a difference in someone's life? How can I use my words to build up the people I love the most?