Control the Tongue
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Ephesians 4:29-30
Conflict ignites fiery passions within the human soul. It can make the head throb, the blood boil, and the adrenaline rush. What is worse, conflict can turn the mouth into a weapon of mass destruction. Our words can become the primary weapon with which we “bit and devour one another” and damage relationships in the family of God. So no matter what the conflict, words matter and they matter a lot.
I am convinced that most conflicts could be resolved with minimal damage to individual people and to the church if we brought our anger and our tongue1 under the Holy Spirit’s control. In fact, handling conflict biblically requires that we control our anger and our tongue. The unholy war of words that is part of many disputes between God’s people stands in opposition to the clear teaching of Scripture:
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for the building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:29-30)
The Holy Spirit is sensitive to anything that damages or divides the people of God whom he has unified in Christ as one body and “sealed for the day of redemption.”2 Therefore, the Spirit care deeply about how we speak to one another in the body of Christ. The possibility of grieving the Holy Spirit of God by what we say ought to be strong motivation for us to Carefully choose our words and how we speak them.
Our success in controlling our anger and speech is a clear measure of our desire to walk by the Spirit and to manage conflict in a Christlike manner. (Gal. 5:16)