A fight erupts, tears ensue or anger explodes that lets us know that what we have just said inflicted pain.
Hopefully at these times we are quick to seek forgiveness. The fracture in the relationship is obvious and so is the need to mend it. The damage of our words is evident and so our rush to repair it is hopefully swift.
However, these might not be the only times that our words are causing harm. Ephesians 4:29 says let no “corrupting talk” proceed from our mouth. Corruption isn’t something that takes place immediately. Much like the bike that is left out in the rain will slowly start to build rust and have the integrity of its frame compromise, so our words may eat away at our loved one’s heart. It’s not just the zingers and the bold fights that cause harm; it’s the slow demise that comes from words that didn’t cause an immediate response but penetrated deep inside. Things may look good on the outside, but the person is slowly being destroyed within.
That’s why God commands us to avoid this talk altogether. We are told to say those things that are useful only for building up, not those things that will lead to destruction. Because while the damage of hurtful words may not be readily apparent, the damage is still there. The bonds of our relationships are being weakened and compromised when we say words that our meant to bring someone else down. Even if it was meant as a joke. Even if we think they don’t care.
In our relationships,our goal should be to reflect His love more – to be instruments of His in the work that He is doing in someone else’s life. This is impossible to do if our words are destroying the person that He created.