“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
If you breathe, then you are guilty of poor talk. It doesn’t matter the circumstance or situation, people love to engage in poor talk. We gravitate to negative, pessimistic and hopeless communication. Unfortunately, poor talk is easy and familiar. We fill our conversations with can’t, won’t and never. Misery loves company, so most people love to join in and add their share of poor talk. It spreads because poor talk is highly contagious. It is easy to stoke the fire instead of putting out the fire. It permeates every aspect of life. There is no escaping it.
Families, teams, companies, churches and organizations are filled with poor talkers.
After serving with FCA for almost 30 years, I have learned poor talk is too common in ministry circles. When excellence can’t be attained, we resort to one of the three key ingredients of poor talk. It is easy to blame circumstances rather than take responsibility.
3 key ingredients of poor talk:
1. Time – There is never enough time to accomplish everything!
2. Money – If we had more money, we could really make an impact
3. People – We can never get enough people to help us!
Poor talk comes from scarcity thinking. It is a “lack of” mindset. We believe there is limited time, money and people. Not only does this kind of thinking paralyze us, but it also prevents us celebrating others’ successes. More for you means less for me. Instead, we need to realize God owns it all, and He has unlimited resources. When we believe this, we have an abundance mindset.
The apostle Paul instructs us in Ephesians to not let any unwholesome words come out of our mouth. Another way to say it is let no poor talk come out of our mouths. Poor talk is worthless, bad and rotten. It focuses on the past, not the future. God calls us to fill our words with humility, hope and grace. In Colossians 4:6, Paul writes, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
The opposite of poor talk is grace talk.
If poor talk is rooted in scarcity thinking, then grace talk is rooted in abundance thinking. Poor talk tears down; grace talk builds up. Grace talk drips with possibility and opportunity. It is fueled with can, will and always. Grace talk gives others what they often don’t deserve: blessing, encouragement and refreshment.
3 results of grace talk:
1. Honors God – We realize God owns it all and we will give Him all praise and glory.
2. Increases Possibilities – We believe the best is yet to come.
3. Encourages Others – We believe the best in others and focus on the good in others.
When I travel and spend time with our international leaders, I am always blown away how they don’t use poor talk when talking about their ministries. Instead, they focus on God’s goodness, graciousness and generosity. One of our key leaders in Africa, Vincent, always starts his conversations with “By the grace of God…” It is his way to always remind himself and others that God is in control. No poor talk for Vincent, just grace talk.
We serve a great God who wants the best for us…and others!
Can you imagine if all of us decide to eliminate poor talk? No more scarcity thinking, just abundance thinking. God will do more than we can imagine if we simply replace poor talk with grace talk. Let’s start today!
Father, help me to eliminate poor talk from my vocabulary and focus on grace talk by believing the best. Move me from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking. With You, there are unlimited resources. Thank you for your favor, blessing and provisions. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.