Dear Faith Family,
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, (Ephesians 4:29).
There it is staring at you comfortably resting in the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter. It knows your name. You find yourself hungry for a peach. Gazing into the bowl you pick out the perfect peach. Your teeth are sharpened. You can almost taste the peach. You do the peach reach. And then it happens (No, the doorbell doesn’t ring!). The peach separates. You discover a puddle where the peach had been and fruit flies ascend in great number from the bowl. Yuk!
While you’re holding that peach and processing your options, let me ask you a trivia question: what do apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, figs, guavas, grapes, green onions, honeydew, ripe kiwi fruit, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, peppers, persimmons, pineapple, plantains, plums, and ripe tomatoes have in common? According to Dr. Geoffrey Harris, MD, they are all problem produce. They release ethylene gas.
He continues, “Ethylene is a plant hormone that regulates the ripening of fruit…. Fruits that release ethylene gas signal other fruit on the same tree to ripen so that most of a tree’s fruit reaches ripeness around the same time. However, in the kitchen, the problem is that an avocado can cause accelerated ripening, and even spoilage, of other produce like tomatoes.”
Could it be that our tongues fall into the category of problem produce? If you read the verses around Ephesians 4:29 you will discover that the tongue has the ability to affect others in so many positive ways (speaking the truth, building up, giving grace, being kind). Unfortunately our tongues also have the ability to produce rot. Paul calls it “corrupting talk”. Talk that produces “sepsis”.
Yikes! So, our tongues have the ability to produce that nasty puddle (you remember the puddle in the bottom of the fruit bowl on the counter?) in the lives of the people around us?! When we lie we produce rot. When we tear down we produce rot. When we pronounce judgement we produce rot. When we speak unkind words we produce rot.
May God help us to stop producing rot. Here’s a thought: Don’t just stop the rot-producing words thus leaving a vacuum (sometimes a vacuum just refills with more of the same). Instead, start intentionally speaking words of truth, of building up, of grace, and of kindness.
Wanting to be productive produce,