We are known by our words. They reveal what's on our mind and in our hearts. They reveal whether we are self-centered or other-centered, humble or proud, honest or dishonest, gentle or harsh. As such, it's said that we ought to "weigh our words," but better still, we ought to weigh our thoughts that give rise to our words.
"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." (Ephesians 4.29)
The clear emphasis in this verse is an other-centered focus. Words meant, not to draw attention to ourselves, but to upbuild the listener and bring grace to them. That presupposes that we've actually listened to them, know something about them, and are moved with compassion for them.
It's said that one of the great gifts we can offer someone is to listen intently and non-judgmentally to them. Such listening is in short supply. Fact is, outreach and salvation can easily depend upon good listening. Those whom we never truly listen to may never listen to us in those critical moments when we share the life-changing gospel.
May we be endowed with Spirit-directed sensitive listening skills, and gracious, upbuilding, and life-changing words.
©Steve Taylor, 2017 --Used by permission