The other day, I walked by our kitchen pantry and had to gasp for air. Something in the pantry was rotten. Once the door was open, I discovered that one of the potatoes was rotten and had started rotting the other potatoes around it. Man did it stink! We ended up cleaning the other potatoes to protect and keep them whole and tossed the infected bag.
Isn’t it interesting in scripture what Paul the Apostle called “rotten”…our spoken words. If you speak “rotten words”, it is not only symptomatic that you have a rotten heart but most likely have started rotting those around you. The only way to stop the rotting is for you to get your heart cleaned up by Jesus and then moving forward speak wholesome, edifying words to others. Stop rotting your spouse, your children, and your close friends or associates. “Confess” your rotten tongue to Jesus, 1 John 1:9 says that He “will cleanse you and forgive your sin.” Since this may have been habitual for a long time, you may discover that this is difficult to clean up. Work with Him to make your mouth a stream of purity and affirmation. Ephesians 4:29 is clear about this, “Let no [u]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.” NIV and NASB version of scripture uses the word “unwholesome” but the literal meaning is “rotten”. Learn to “speak truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), as verse 29 states, your words will “edify” and “give grace to those who hear.” Your wholesome words will stop the “rotting” process and start building up others around you.
Let’s see in the verse immediately following, verse 30, who else is impacted by “rotten” words. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Your rotten words “grieve God”. Why is God so impacted? The very individuals that Jesus died on the cross for are being corrupted by the profanity gushing out of your mouth. Dear brother or sister, it is time to clean your mouth up.
James 3:2-10 is a long passage, but the message is crystal clear, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”
Today, “take out the rotting trash” that has been habitually coming out of your mouth.