Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Corrupt literally means decayed and rotten. Let me give you an illustration of this word.
When I was in high school my dad bought an old house that had been made into apartments. One tenant didn’t pay her rent. When my dad went to her door, he found that she had moved out. When he opened the front door, the stench nearly knocked him over. The lady had thrown her laundry on her closet floor. The cats (plural) had been using them as their litter box. My dad hired a man to pitch fork the clothes out the window into his pickup. They were decayed and rotten. Washing them would have not changed anything.
Corrupt words come from corrupt thoughts. Derogatory, hateful, spiteful, or slanderous words would fit the category of corrupt. The Amplified says, “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk (ever) come out of your mouth…” Corrupt words are unrighteousness. Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags…”
Years ago we had a church split. It was a really hard time for me as I was the secretary. I put a sign on the inside of my back door. Every time I went out to get into my car I saw the sign. I wrote: Impart Grace. I wanted to remind myself that I was to impart grace in every conversation.
Grace words can only come from a humble heart. James 4:6 says that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Speaking grace words requires righteous thoughts. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” You cannot look down on someone (thoughts) and speak grace words. That is like oil and water.
Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…” If you hold bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart, your words will be corrupt. Matthew 12:34 says that our words are the overflow from our heart. We speak what we think. We need to listen and hear what our thoughts are saying.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says to bring every thought captive. We have the capability to not speak. Words don’t just flow out uncontrollably. They are within our ability to stop them. Here is an interesting verse. Proverbs 30:32 says, “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.” We would be wise to heed these words.
Proverbs 29:20 says, “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Psalm 39:1 says, “I said, I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle…” Jesus is our example. Luke 4:22 says, “So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth…” Psalm 45:2 says, “You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever.”