Theme: Is it encouraging? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

Verse: Ephesians 4:29- “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.”


          Do you ever sin? Of course, you do. Why? Because you were born with a sinful nature.

          If you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart to forgive your sins, then you are a new creature. You have a new nature, but that old, sinful nature still likes to rear its ugly head. It still tries to make you sin.

          How do you get rid of that old self, the part of you that likes to sin? You have to change your thinking. The Holy Spirit will help you do this. When you know Jesus, you have a choice. Will you choose to do bad things, or will you choose to live like Jesus?

Listen to Ephesians 4:29- “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.”

          What shouldn’t come out of your mouth? Rotten talk. Bad words.  Words that hurt others.

          So, how can you replace rotten, hurtful words with good words? You should only say what is good, for building someone up.

          Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it encouraging? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

          Like what? “Good job.” “That was so nice of you to help.” “You’re awesome.” “Thank you.” “You can do it.”

          Your words should not make someone cry or feel hurt. Your words should make someone smile and feel good.

          If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say it.

          Phil found himself in a situation where he was surrounded by rotten words. Let’s see what he did.

Phil and Ashley Story:

          Phil stuffed the sticky, dripping bite of pancake into his mouth and swallowed almost without chewing. He couldn’t wait to go.

          “Someone’s excited this morning,” Mom said as she sipped her tea.

          “First game of the season.”

          “That’s silly to get so excited about a dumb ball game,” his little sister Ashley said.

          “It’s better than playing with your stupid AOL dolls. They’re the ugliest dolls I’ve ever seen.”

          “They are not ugly. They are…”

          “Wait a minute.” Dad held up his hands. “I don’t like what I’m hearing. Ashley, you shouldn’t criticize Phil’s ball game. It’s important to him. And Phil, you shouldn’t say things like that about Ashley’s dolls. It’s not what Jesus would do.”

          Phil lowered his eyes. “Sorry.”

          “Here are some good questions to ask yourself before you blurt something out,” Dad said. “Is it encouraging? Is it kind? Is it helpful?”

          Phil had failed on all three counts. Calling Ashley’s AOL dolls stupid and ugly was not encouraging, kind, or helpful.

          “Sorry,” he repeated.

          Within five minutes Phil had gobbled his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and was seated in the car for Dad to drive him to the game.

          It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds singing. A crowd had gathered at the ball park. Phil joined his team.

          “Can’t you ever be on time?” Jeff Coates said.

          He was on time. He wanted to say, “Can’t you keep your big mouth shut?” but he didn’t. That wouldn’t have been encouraging, kind, or helpful.

          Phil’s team was in the outfield first. He was first baseman, and Jeff was shortstop.

          The first batter hit a short grounder which Jeff retrieved and tossed to Phil. Phil caught it and tagged the runner. He was out.

          “Good throw, Jeff” Phil said. He was proud for saying something encouraging.

          Jeff gave him a thumbs-up.

          The next batter had his troubles. He swung long before the ball reached him. “Can’t you even hit the ball?” Jeff yelled.

          That wasn’t very nice to say.

          The boy struck out and the third batter, Luke, was up.

          “Easy out, fatso,” Jeff yelled.

          Luke was overweight and clumsy. Still, Jeff never should have called him such a mean name. It was not encouraging or kind.

          To everyone’s surprise, Luke struck the ball so hard that it flew to the far corner.

          “Oh, my God!” Jeff exclaimed.

          Phil clenched his teeth. God’s name was too precious to be tossed around like that. He was so disturbed that he barely noticed Luke flying around the bases for a home run.

          The next batter struck out, and Phil’s team was up

          “Jesus Christ, we can beat them guys in nothing flat,” Jeff bragged.

          Phil winced. He couldn’t stand listening to Jeff taking the Lord’s name in vain. “I wish you wouldn’t talk about my friend like that,” he said.


          “It bothers me when you use Jesus’ name as a swear word, because Jesus Christ is my best friend.”

          Jeff chuckled. “Looks to me like you just swore too. You said Jesus Christ.”

          “There’s a big difference. When I say Jesus Christ, I’m speaking reverently of God. When you say it, you’re not even thinking about God. You are dishonoring God’s name, and the Bible tells us that’s wrong.”

          Phil couldn’t wait to go home. He was tired of listening to this. He wanted to be in a place where people loved Jesus and where they said kind and helpful things instead of hurtful.

          It made him realize how very important his words were.


What kind of words come out of your mouth- rotten words or kind words?

Let’s look at the characters in our story.


What were some rotten words that came out of his mouth?

          He called Ashley’s dolls stupid and ugly.

What were some encouraging, kind, helpful words that came out of his mouth?

          He told Jeff he’d made a good throw.

When did he stop himself from saying something hurtful?

          When Jeff accused him of not being on time, he didn’t say, “Can’t you     keep your big mouth shut.” He chose to do what was right.


What were some rotten words that came out of Jeff’s mouth?

          He told the second batter, “Can’t you even hit the ball?” Was that  encouraging, kind, or helpful? No.

          He called Luke fatso. Was that encouraging, kind, or helpful? No.

He kept taking the Lord’s name in vain. Where in the Bible does it say  we shouldn’t take the Lord’s name in vain? In the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:7- “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will punish anyone who misuses his name.”

You hear people saying, “Oh, my God,” all the time. That is taking God’s name in vain and makes God very sad. You should never say that.

          You have a choice in your words. You can say something mean or critical and hurt someone’s feelings. Or you can say words that are encouraging, kind, and helpful. Which will you do?

          Think about it the next time you speak.

Beth Livingston


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