Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
In today’s world, it is not politically correct to offend others. We are supposed to tolerate everything. However, that is not the case for Christians. We are to share the gospel, and sometimes the gospel offends.
When we witness to someone, we need to choose our words carefully – without compromising the gospel truth. We need to give the gospel to them in love and in truth. If the truth offends them, that is fine; but if we offend them with unloving comments, that is wrong. We need to remember where Christ has brought us from; and if it were not for God’s grace, we could be in that person’s shoes, or worse.
Looking at our verse, you may wonder, what is “necessary edification”? It means that we are to uplift, encourage, and sometimes we need to give corrective instruction. Again, that must be done in love, not in anger, and not in a self-righteous tone. We need to make sure that we are not rushing into a rash judgment. Many times we don’t offer this type of instruction because we are afraid of a harsh reaction.
Now, let’s consider our own reaction to loving, constructive criticism. We usually feel offended when another Christian calls us out on something. However, when it is done in love, we should be thankful that they care enough to help us live a holy life. They are only doing what Scripture commands. When it is done in an unloving way, that is when we need to forgive.
Christians have been given so much grace. Therefore, the words that depart from our lips should be words of grace. We should never hold back the truth of scripture even if it offends; but we should give it in love that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Let’s continue to spread the gospel with the realization that at times, the gospel will offend people. We should never use unloving words that will offend others at any time but rather demonstrate the love of God to them.
Father, as I go out into the world today, help me share the gospel with unbelievers. Help me share Your love with them and give me the ability to do this in a manner pleasing to You. Prepare the hearts of those I will encounter today. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.