“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.”
Ephesians 4:29, NIV

The monastery on Mount Serat in Spain is definitely not for everyone! One of the fundamental requirements of this highly disciplined monastic order is that those who come there must maintain absolute silence. An opportunity to speak is scheduled only once every two years, at which time the residents are allowed to speak only two words.

One young initiate, who had completed his first two years, was invited by his superior to make his first two-word presentation. “Food terrible!” he declared. Two years later the young man received his second opportunity: “Bed lumpy!” Arriving at his superior’s office two years later he exclaimed, “I quit!” The supervisor looked at him and declared, “You know, it does not surprise me one bit. Ever since you arrived here all you have done is complain, complain, complain!”

Exaggerated? Maybe! But what if you were asked to share just two words that describe your life? Would your focus be upon the lumps and bumps of your life or are you committed to dwell on the positive aspects of life? When you speak to others, are your words more often words of encouragement or words that tear down? When your family and friends see you coming, do their faces brighten up, or is their expectation that you are going to complain, complain, complain?

The Apostle Paul knew how powerful words are so he commanded the believers in the church at Ephesus to speak only those words that would build others up according to their needs. He absolutely forbade the Ephesian believers to let any unwholesome talk come out of their months. Christ-followers remain on earth to be “salt and light,” to be voices of encouragement in a dark and unsavory world.

QUESTION: Who have you hurt with words of discouragement or resentment that you may owe an apology to? Who can you be a voice of encouragement to today?