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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29-30
Some years ago, a famous New York Fifth Avenue jewelry store had a promotional presentation.
With great pomp and considerable advertising, they unveiled the display of a flawless 70-carat diamond. For this trivial bauble, the company had paid a record $1,050,000. For days the curious waited in line so they could get a short glimpse of the diamond.
* A short, bald man peered condescendingly at the gigantic jewel protected in the theft-proof glass case. He leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I can see a flaw in that diamond, but let's keep it a secret between us. I wouldn't want to say anything to the company."
* A chic and stylish lady concluded, "You know, it really isn't that beautiful."
* "It's too large," said one woman in rhinestone-studded glasses.
* "I think it's vulgar," commented a third.
At the end of two weeks, the guard who was protecting the jewel said, "These last two weeks I've heard a lot of trash talk. I'm amazed these folks spent their time waiting to see something so pitiful."
Trash talk happens when a person sees something good and then finds flaws to put it down.
Well, trash talk is what the Pharisees did to Jesus the day He rode into Jerusalem. The Pharisees trash talked Jesus when He associated with sinners (Matthew 9:11). They trash talked Jesus for not obeying man-made laws (Matthew 9:14). They trash talked Jesus and His disciples for the way they remembered the Sabbath (Matthew 12:2). They trash talked the Lord and His followers for the way they kept traditions and washed their hands (Matthew 15:2). They trash talked Jesus for the stories He told (Matthew 21:45-46). They even trash talked their own employees when they were touched by the words of the Savior.
It's not so much different today.
Today we have people who put down Christ and His people for a multitude of reasons. They think we're phony and foolish. They thing we're narrow-minded and near-sighted. They think we are backward, prejudiced and judgmental.
It's sad they feel that way about us and the Savior whom we represent. It's even sadder if their feelings have some basis in truth.
Perhaps that's why St. Paul told the Ephesian church they were to let no corrupting talk come out of their mouths. Instead, Christians should be identified by using their conversations to build people up and support them.
That is, after all, what the Holy Spirit wants. It is what glorifies the Christ who gave His life so that we might have life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive my loose tongue and grant that I may say those things which are beneficial to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries