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. Ephesians 4:29
This is going to be a challenge for you. What is going to be a challenge for me? Do you want to be able to build others up with your words? Is that one of the ways that you want to use me? Yes, it is. Well, I want what you want. I will do whatever you ask of me. Why will building others up with my words be such a challenge for me? I know that you already have a pretty good idea why building up others with your words will be a real challenge for you. But, I will explain it to you.
How well do you listen? Do you focus your complete attention on what others have to say to you? Do you allow yourself to become distracted? Are you thinking more about what you might say next rather than carefully listening to what others are saying to you? Do you let your mind wander on to different subjects while others are speaking to you? Lord, you know me. Listening has not been my strongest quality. I have not been a good listener. I do let my mind wander. I do think more about what I want to say than what is being said to me. I’m usually thinking about a topic that interests me more than what others are discussing. Often times, I would never be able to repeat back what has just been said to me. That’s not good. I know.
If you want to be able to build others up with your words you will need to become a good listener. This will be a challenge for me. It will be more of a challenge than you think. Why is that? You will need to become a good two-way listener if you want to be able to build others up with your words. I don’t even know what a two-way listener is. Yes, I know you don’t know what a good two-way listener is. That’s why we are having this conversation. You will need to learn to listen attentively to both the person that you are talking to and to me at the same time. As you listen to the person talking you will better understand their needs. By listening attentively to them you will be fully engaging in their life. By listening attentively to me you will know what I would like you to say to them. The words that you speak will not be your own words. The words that you will speak to build others up will come from me. I get it. Now, do you understand why this will be a real challenge to you? Yes, I do. Will you listen attentively to others? Yes, I will. Will you listen attentively to me? Yes, I will. Then I will give you the words that I want to use to build others up. Then my words will become your words. That is what I want.
Lord, no longer will I let unwholesome words linger in my mind and come out of my mouth. Help me to listen carefully to you so that I can hear wholesome words to speak to others in order to build them up according to their needs. Amen
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