What Did You Swallow?

December 10, 202

     Have you ever spent time around someone with bad breath? It happens to all of us from time to time especially if we like food that is well seasoned. However what tastes great going it is not always as pleasant wafting out. If you want to feel even worse than you do now imagining bad breath google: “what causes bad breath”. The usual culprits include: food that gets stuck in your teeth, tobacco, poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, oral infections, normal mouth bacteria, stomach gasses escaping and a few other things. 

     We all know how bad it can be and most of us actively take steps to avoid it. If you don’t your friends probably wish that you would. 

     There is however something much worse that can come out of our mouths. Jesus says from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. To me it sounds like the cause of our words being bad or hurtful is much worse than anything we could possibly have eaten. 

     Paul uses a phrase in Ephesians 4:29 to describe improper speech.  He says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth…”  That word “corrupt”. Is an interesting word it is from a Greek word meaning “to cause to decay”. The Greeks used the word to describe what offends the sense of sight and smell, but it came to describe even offensive sounds as an ancient fragment from Theopompus Comicus used the word to describe the “unpleasant sounds of flutes” (CAF, I, 746). They used the word to describe bad vegetables and rotting fish.

     Having considered Jesus words and the description given by Paul we can reflect on the impact we can have on those around us through what we say. Unlike the description given above Paul says our words should be gracious seasoned with salt. This is not to suggest that we should be dishonest or manipulative in what we say. Rather we should speak the truth in love. 

     On the other hand we should be careful not to use language that is profane or offensive. Knowing that the words that come out of our mouth have the potential to be much more off-putting than the worst garlic or coffee breath.

     There is a principal that we use to help teach firefighters and ski patrollers do a better job when speaking on the radio. The principle is simple just before you speak take a moment to collect your thoughts and consider the best way to get your point across. Even though we are not using a radio in day to day life many would still benefit to apply this principle.

~ Kevin Cleary