17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I can’t help noticing how similar this piece of scripture is to Romans 12. It talks about not conforming to the corrupt ways of the world (Gentiles) but being transformed (new attitude of mind). Paul then goes on to give a set of practical ways in which we can be made new in our minds…these involve the way we treat those around us. When I read a list like this it can seem over whelming. So much to do…so much change needed however, in the list one instruction really stands out. “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”
I think that our culture has taught us to be careless with our speech, what we say about people. What we talk about, the things we find amusing. I wonder how much of my speech is used for building others up. This is an area that we can focus on, we can start to make our minds new, stop breaking down with our words and start building. In some ways we can treat it like a fast… a discipline of learning to do without something that comes so natural to us and replacing it with something better. Is anybody up for the challenge?