The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and instructed them to “put on” the new man which is created in the righteousness of God and true holiness. As he instructed them in their Christian walk, he provided them clear instructions on what types of sin to avoid. In the listing of corrupt sins that Paul condemned, several of the actions are related to evil speech. As we consider the words of Paul to the church at Ephesus, it would do us well to consider our own lives in light of Holy Scripture and make sure that we are not guilty of these sins of the tongue.
Ephesians 4:24-32: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and truef holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to giveg to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good toh the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Sins of the tongue are like “fast food” sins. They are convenient, easy to commit, and often seem very satisfying at first. However, the effects of such sins can often harm entire families and linger in the minds of people for many years. Sins of the tongue sting. As Christians, we should guard ourselves to make sure we are not guilty of these horrible sins. Unfortunately, many churches are holy in many areas but filthy to the core when it comes to sins of the tongue. Many churches boast about their evangelism and wonderful ministries, but they are living loosely with their tongues. To the world this is not only hypocrisy in the highest, but it does not demonstrate a genuine love for one another or a love for the world. As Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, the sins of the tongue are exposed and condemned.
1. Lying – To lie about someone is a harmful thing. It not only hurts the individual, but it tarnishes their testimony inside and outside the church body. Since Paul is writing to a specific church, consider the truth of how this plays out in your own church body. If you lie against someone, it creates a lack of trust regarding that individual in the hearts of people for years to come.
2. Corrupt Communication – From gossip to anger filled screaming matches, corrupt communication is always condemned. It does not matter if the communication is from lay persons toward staff persons or staff persons toward lay persons – corrupt communication is a sin. Paul instructs the church at Ephesus to speak words that edify (build up) as opposed to that which tears down.
3. Evil Speaking – Often times people who have been wronged hold grudges and speak evil against people in private or even in public settings. Paul condemns that type of behavior. Even those who have been wronged should be willing to forgive – just as Christ has forgiven them.
Each Christian should examine their own heart and remember that each individual Christian will stand before God and give account of every idle word that they speak (Matthew 12:36). This humble truth should be a constant barrier that prevents the stinging sins of the tongue. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ should speak words that edify – all for the glory of God.
Pastor Josh Buice