(edited from Thomas Reade's, "On Christian Conversation")
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of
your mouths, but only what is helpful for building
others up according to their needs, that it may
benefit those who listen." Ephes. 4:29
We ought never to speak unfavorably, not even
by insinuation, of absent people, except when duty
positively requires it; and even then, there should
be a marked and sincere regret that the occasion
calls for such an exposure of character.
We must guard against attributing wrong motives
to the actions of others, even when appearances
might favor such a conclusion; remembering that
God alone knows the heart. Who are we, that we
should judge our brother?
We should avoid every thing that borders upon
flattering adulation, especially towards those
who are present; knowing how pernicious praise
is to a fallen creature, and how few are able to
withstand its influence. This does not exclude a
proper commendation, or a suitable encouragement,
when dictated by Christian simplicity and prudence.
We must not indulge in those exaggerations, those
strong hyperboles, those embellished representations,
which seem to give force to conversation, but which
actually destroy its delicacy and beauty. This mode
of speaking, by stretching out too far, touches upon
the confines of falsehood.
Truth appears most beautiful in its own native simplicity.
Christian conversation is marked by love, humility, and purity.
Love leads us to converse with delight on all subjects
connected with the glory of God and the good of man.
Humility draws a veil over her own graces, and
delicately discovers the excellencies of others. It
frankly confesses her own faults, and carefully
conceals the failings of others.
Purity, like the refreshing rose, sheds a fragrance
peculiarly its own over our whole conversation; and,
like that lovely flower, leaves its reviving scent when
we are gone.
How different from the conversation of the wicked,
whose throat is compared in Scripture to an open
sepulcher; loathsome and offensive, disgusting
"But I tell you that men will have to give account on
the day of judgment for every careless word they
have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted,
and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3