A filter keeps contaminants out. I like to think of our filter as the restraining Holy Spirit that keeps us in check, and convicts our hearts before we speak, criticize, or formulate a negative response toward someone else.
Ephesians 4:29 explains how to start the filtration process in our hearts to stop what tries to work its way up to our mouths and escape through our speech: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Did you catch that? There are three steps to the filtration process:
First, we are to exercise self-control by guarding our mouths and letting no unwholesome word slip out.
Second, we are to use discretion and speak only uplifting words that build up others.
Third, we are to use discernment and ensure our words are timely “according to the need of the moment.”
How often was a tender word needed, but we spoke a word of correction or rebuke instead? How often did our children need to hear first that we loved them, and later a lesson about how they could’ve avoided that mistake.
Proverbs 15:23 says: “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!” And Proverbs 16:24 tells us “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Be one who heals, not hurts, others with your timely words.
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