Marriage, ministry, Uncategorized

‘No unwholesome talk’ Use your words to build up, not tear down!


dare 7Several years ago, I was sitting at my kitchen table with a friend after an energizing missions conference.

I’m a missionary at heart and had heard about an exciting opportunity to go to southeast Asia with a group that works to empower women working to support their families and keep them safe from trafficking.

I was ON FIRE.

My heart was leaping at the idea of blogging the journey, capturing photos and stories to bring light to the plight of these women and effect change. Just the thought of it made me feel so .. alive! I could already see myself there.

As I excitedly told my friend about all the details, how much I wanted to go and how thrilling the whole thing was for me, I couldn’t help but see almost immediately that my enthusiasm was not shared. Not even a little.

Instead of the positive, supportive response I was expecting and hoping for, I was met with with annoyance and even criticism about the whole thing. 

My heart sank. I was stunned, cheeks burning and words caught in my throat. And my fire was extinguished.

Just like that, all enthusiasm and life left me and I never went on the trip. In fact, I’ve not gone on any missions trip.

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me’ is a great sing-songy rhyme, but honestly? It’s a total lie.

Our words matter, and they matter deeply.

Look at what James 3:3-5 says about the power of the tongue:

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”

Quite sobering, isn’t it. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want MY speech to ‘ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it.

As you may remember, I’m blogging through the Respect Dare, one of my favorite wife 101 resources. And while the book is aimed at wives, the concept of respect certainly applies in any relationship and interaction for any of us. So if you’re not a wife, don’t shut the conversation down, it can still apply to and benefit you and your relationships.

ephesians 4 29This week’s dare comes out of Ephesians 4:29:

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.”

We’re challenged to look at the way we communicate with our spouses and also about our spouses to others. Do our words build up or do they tear down? Do they harm our spouse’s reputation or secure it?


Again, this concept translates to ANY relationship!

How ARE we doing with our words? Are we critical? Judgmental? Do we gossip? Do we build up or do we tear down?

James 3 goes further in verses 9-12:

 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Oh, that I would not be a salt spring.


Anybody still biting their tongues from Dare 5? If not, you may find yourself motivated to do so this week! 🙂

Here’s a great song to listen to as we move forward, resolved to let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to our Father. (Psalm 19:14)

So happy you are here with me. Thanks for the love, friends.

If you want to be an all-star, brighten someone’s day with uplifting words! Compliment someone. Your spouse. Your child. Your friend. Your neighbor. The lady at the checkout.

Tell someone they are appreciated or loved. Or have awesome hair. Or great talent.

It’s not about just not saying words that tear down, let’s be intentional about saying words that BUILD UP!

Which reminds me, anyone still doing Random Acts of Kindness? It’s still Random Acts of Kindness Week! If you missed last week’s post, check it out here!

Spread some love!

Oh, and if you are wanting a copy of the Respect Dare for yourself or a friend, click here. You won’t be sorry! 

Tell me your thoughts! Anybody know what I’m talking about here? Have words ever extinguished your flame? Or, have they ever sent you up into the clouds with joy? I would love to hear about it. 🙂

Texas love, ya’ll.


About Melissa Smith


3 thoughts on “‘No unwholesome talk’ Use your words to build up, not tear down!

  1. I’ve been both the extinguished and sadly the extinguisher. There is something about seeing someone’s face fall that makes you aware of how dangerous our tongues can be. It seems there just aren’t any unimportant words. :(. Each one really should be measured shouldn’t it?

    Great post!

    Posted by sandi | February 19, 2016, 3:40 pm
  2. A boss told me one time that i was “abbrasive” in a meeting in front of other managers. And proceeded to compliment every one else. I wish he would’ve told me how to fix it too. It hurt a lot. But another boss from the same company told me in another situation that ” i was not a quitter and it really helped me during trying times. The power of words.

    Posted by Tinzy | March 10, 2016, 6:32 pm


  1. Pingback: If you can't say something nice... - Respect Dare Blog For Married Women - February 22, 2016

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