TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self – Unwholesome Talk


In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. To remind us, let me give you what Paul outlines as some of those new attitudes to apply to our lives.

  • v 25 – put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor
  • v 26 – do not let the sun go down while you are still angry
  • v 27 – do not give the devil a foothold
  • v 28 – do not steal any longer, work to give/share with those in need rather than taking
  • v 29 – do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but speak only what is helpful for building up others in conjunction with their needs. Also speak what is beneficial to the listener
  • v 30 – do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption
  • v 31 – get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice
  • v 32 – be kind and compassionate (tender-hearted) to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you

I have already addressed speaking truthfully. You can speak truthfully but unwholesomely at that same time. My mother told me a long time ago “just because it’s true does mean it needs to be said.” You see, according to her and others, I did not have a filter growing up. I spoke what was on my mind even more so when I was angry especially the use of profanity. While it was not right, it was a function of what I heard at home and in the neighborhood. Anger was another of the old self attributes that we are told to get rid of. Now today, we are told the TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self – Unwholesome Talk.

Exactly what is unwholesome talk. Well, we know talk is using words or speaking to communicate. So, the unwholesome part refers to the words we use. What is unwholesome? The New King James Version says it like this – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth,” Profanity certainly would constitute as unwholesome or corrupt, but it is more than that. F.F. Bruce said, ” “Not only obscene vulgarity but slanderous and contemptuous talk.” (Bruce)” Slanderous means to make a malicious, false and defamatory statement or report. Defamatory is to attack the good name or reputation of another. It is to simply say anything that sheds a negative light on someone without the purpose of saying it to help the person get better. The Greek word for unwholesome is sapros which means:

  1. rotten, putrefied

  2. corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out

  3. of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless

We are told what not to do as well as what to do. We are to let things come out of our mouths that is only “helpful for building up others in conjunction with their needs. Also speak what is beneficial to the listener” Perhaps, trying to figure out what is unwholesome is much more difficult than assessing what is helpful. We are told that we need to have the person as well as the listener i.e. anyone there who is able to hear in mind when we open our mouths. Building up is edifying which is the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness or generally how to help them grow. That is the the TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self – Unwholesome Talk.

Can we work on that today? Can we check the words before they come our of our mouths today to ensure they are useful for building up or edifying the person as well as those who are listening. If the words are not helpful, let’s ask God to help us not say them. Furthermore, let’s ask God to help us to say them in a manner that they will be received. Saying them with malice or sarcasm defeats the purpose and contradicts edifying or building up. That is the the TRUTH: Putting on Our New Self – Unwholesome Talk.

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