22 OCTOBER 365 Days with Calvin

Edifying with the Tongue

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

suggested further reading: James 3:1–12

We must note in the first place that our Lord has given us tongues to communicate with one another. We should therefore use them to benefit our neighbors and wholly employ them to that end.

The tongue, which is the means of conveying our hearts and minds to others, ought to guide the rest of us, since it has superiority over all. On the other hand, the tongue is with good reason named our glory to show how we ought to use it and to what purpose, namely, to honor God (Ps. 16:9; 57:8). When we have given close attention to the order of nature, our hearts ought to be sufficiently impressed so that our words are beneficial and contribute to our neighbor’s welfare and profit.

The first point, therefore, to bear in mind is that our Lord wills every part of us to be useful, especially the tongue, so that the drift of all our talk may be to edify. For example, one man needs counsel, another warning, another rebuking, and another to be reminded of something or else be taught because he is utterly ignorant.

The principal thing to keep in mind is to teach the ignorant and show them the way of salvation. If a person misbehaves or is negligent and slothful, he must be spurred on by good teachings. If he is unruly, he must be shamed (as much as is possible), that he may be brought back to serve God. Once we have come to that point, we should continually give ourselves to the benefit and profit of our neighbors in an infinite number of ways, both in respect to the body and the soul.

for meditation: The tongue is so powerful that it must be handled with great care. Not only must it be kept from sin, it must be used for good. Some struggle to keep their tongue silent, while others struggle to get it moving. Whatever the case, we have the double duty to keep the tongue from evil and to employ it for good. Are your words a testimony to God’s grace? Are you keeping your tongue from evil and using it for good?[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 314). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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