Home improvement has been the title of a series that my pastor, Pastor Bob, is doing and it has been interesting to say the least. This past Sunday we were on part 4 and the message came from Ephesians 4:29-32. The message has had me thinking and I have had to keep going back over my notes and the Bible because I can be a slow learner when I want to…..
The first point in the message was – Home improvement involves building up and not tearing down. The scriptural reference was Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (NASB).
The American Heritage Dictionary defines unwholesome as injurious to physical, mental, or moral health; unhealthy; offensive or loathsome. The word edification is defined as intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; enlightenment. Finally, grace is defined as a favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence; a temporary immunity or exemption; or a reprieve.
Based on the definitions, if I were to paraphrase Ephesians 4:29, it could read – Let no words that can cause physical, mental or moral health injuries proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for intellectual, moral and/or spiritual improvement and enlightenment according to the need of the moment, so that it will give favor and indulgence to those who hear.
In everyday life, the power of words are often ignored but if starting today, we made a conscious choice to not say anything that could cause physical, mental or moral injury what a difference we would see in our marriages, relationships, world. As someone that is known for having a quick comeback, oftentimes sarcastic and quick, this really stung because I have knowingly let words pass through my lips that were designed to inflict physical, mental and moral injury. As I continue to pray and make that conscious effort, I am reminded of Psalm 141:3 – Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. (NASB)
Moving forward with my paraphrase of Ephesians 4:29, not only can the words not cause injury but they must be good for intellectual, moral and spiritual improvement and enlightenment. Even when offended by our spouse, children, parents, strangers our words should not cause injury in any way but they must improve the person intellectually, morally and spiritually and bring about enlightenment in them. That is a tall order especially when we feel that someone has wronged us in some way and as a woman, I often feel that I have to let you know exactly how you have wronged me down to the smallest of details. 🙂 Whenever this happens, I try my best to recall 1 Corinthians 13:5 speaking about love – does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. In other words, it does not keep a tally of who did what to whom and when, so if I am acting in love, then I shouldn’t keep a tally either….oh, but my pesky flesh and my great, great, great to the umpteenth grandma Eve.
Finally, our words should give favor and indulgence to those who hear. This really gets me because as a mom of little ones, they are little sponges and mirrors and how you act will be immediately displayed for all to see when you least expect it. Note that the verse doesn’t say that grace will be given to just the person that you were speaking with but to all who hear so that means everyone that is in the midst of what you are saying and all of those that the story is told to afterwards. Like the game telephone when we were young, we have to be so careful with the words that we say that if we are the start of that chain no matter how badly those in the middle may mangle what we say in the end it should still be able to give favor/indulgence/grace to those who hear.
The second point of the sermon was to honor the Holy Spirit at all times and that is a reference to Ephesians 5:30 – Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (NASB) As a Christian, the importance of the Holy Spirit made this point self-explanatory.
The third point – home improvement involves thorough home sweeping referencing Ephesians 5:31-32. My pastor used an example from the ever popular CSI shows and indicated that like one of the CSI detectives with a white glove on, there should be no trace of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice in our homes (hearts) and that we should be kind to one another, tender-hearted, and forgiving. Once again, this can be a tall order because if we do not deal quickly and promptly with our issues, seeds of bitterness can take root in our hearts and they can sprout into trees and the bitterness tree is like a dandelion weed in that it is often hard to uproot after it has taken root in our hearts. It is a tree of many branches and often the root seed is not known because there are so many branches that have to be cut away to get to the trunk.
Forgiveness is sometimes easier than forgetting but once again it serves me well to bring to remembrance 1 Corinthians 13 and also that Jesus has removed my transgressions (sins) as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) so I should not pretend to be the authority on forgiveness and forgetting.
Home Depot and Lowe’s can improve the outside of your home but God must be the improver of the inside. This series is designed for those that are married but the principles are truly applicable in the lives of everyone. If you would like to hear the sermon for yourself and the entire series, click on Pastor Bob here or in the beginning.