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 (KJV)
What is corrupt communication? Corrupt = tainted, infected, decayed, lacking integrity. Therefore, corrupt communication is anything we say that is harmful to others. Gossip stands at the top of the tainted list like a giant weed. Gossip overshadows dreams and chokes fragile lives.
Angry criticism also corrupts; it pulls confidence away from those it touches like a blood-sucking leech.
'But it's true,' we might argue. Only God knows the complete truth.
'But they needed to be set straight,' we might say. God will correct us all in due time.
'I didn't really talk about so and so. I was quiet.' Silence is assent. You are as guilty as the corrupt communicator if you say nothing.
God grants us no exceptions for harmful words. We should neither speak them nor receive them.
Instead, God instructs us to speak the truth kindly, to build each other up, to give encouragement, 'That it may minister grace unto the hearers.' Grace = beauty, good will, favor. Therefore, ministering grace means to adorn someone with our words--to give them favor with sincere compliments: to recognize the beauty that God places in each of His children.
Words are containers of power: the perfect power of God or the putrid power of Satan. Therefore, the next time a bad thought creates an infected word that sits at the tip of your tongue begging to come out, close your mouth firmly.
Quietly call the Healer. Ask His help, and wait as Jesus delivers the perfect words. Then smile! You've resisted temptation, helped a brother, pleased God, and killed corrupt communication with kindness.