"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (NASU)
Mr. Savastio went on to outline 5 characteristics or elements of destructive speech: Is is deceptive? Sensual? Excessive? Abusive? Or divisive? While in the lesson to which I listened he only really explored deceptiveness, that list seemed contains 5 good checks to utilize regarding how I use words, be they in ministry, in my home, with my neighbors, socializing on Facebook, or just sitting sipping tea at the side of the pool. Is what I am thinking about saying deceptive, misleading or purposefully capable of being perceived as something else... or is my communication transparent? Are words I use sensual or inappropriate? Here's one that is often a struggle for me: Are my words too many, too extreme or disproportionate for the situation, unwarranted? Or are they exact, gentle and few. I should never be using words that are offensive, cruel or rude - even though the temptation is strong when someone else has hurt me. And finally, is what I feel I HAVE to say intended to cause disagreement, debate, hostility or conflict? Or are they words that bring peace, healing, resolution or restoration. That's a lot of "stuff" to think about, especially in an environment that seeks and often approves of sensationalistic words, both written or spoken, that clearly fall into one or more of those destructive categories.
Note: If you'd like to hear Mr. Savastio's lesson yourself, please click here.