Encouraging More Edifying Speech – MBFLP 268

The Bible says a lot about the power of the tongue – the question for us is, how do we train and encourage our families to speak in a more gracious and edifying way, when the culture around us grows more unkind and profane every day?

First step – “Lord, is it me?”

Never underestimate the power of our example – whether intended or not! Our children learn from the pattern they observe. If we want our kids to speak with kindness, compassion, and love, we need to model that behavior in our own speech!
Remember the Biblical example is the best example. Give our children a Scriptural understanding of loving and gracious speech. If you have to correct some bad language, then call it by Biblical terms. If it’s unkind, unloving, or mocking, call it what it is.
Explain the cultural part – why speech might be inappropriate in some places but allowed in others. Sometimes the same statement would be acceptable in certain circumstances but totally wrong in another. Part of kindness and courtesy is understanding the sensitivities of other people and adjusting our behavior to show them respect.

How to hold them accountable

Coaching is an important tool. Children aren’t naturally aware of other people’s perceptions, and often they’re not self-aware of their expressions, body language, or tone. When we feel like reacting to their words, it’s good to take a breath and address the words calmly. In many cases, they don’t intend the message we receive. Help them understand why, for example, the tone of voice or the attitude that’s allowable between playmates or siblings would be … unhelpful … with parents or other adults.
Then if correction or discipline is needed, take care of it. Just be sure that you understand what they intended to communicate … and be sure they understand why their communication was unacceptable. (And make sure the situation is calmed down enough that they’re teachable – remember that “discipline” comes from the same root word as “disciple,” and the goal should be instruction, not just punishment!)

Scripture We Referenced

James 3:3-6, 8-10 –  Indeed  we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 
Ephesians 4:32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 12:34-37 (Jesus:) “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

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Comments

  1. The two podcasts I listened to on course language were excellent. Your insight and advice was so helpful and encouraging. I’m sending this to all my parent friends.

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