Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Building Each Other Up

Ephesians 4:29

[build] others up according to their needs

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMMost of us probably know people – or are people – who seem to enjoy putting people down. For some of us – it comes naturally. For some of us – it is a learned behavior from years of being in a negative environment (like an oppressive parent – co-worker – or partner).

Don Rickles was a professional comedian who made his living putting people down. He would call people in the audience hockey pucks and was a prominent member of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast which aired – originally from 1974 thru 1984. People liked to hear others put someone down – especially a star! The premise of the show was someone would be the man or women of the day and other stars would take turns roasting them (cutting them down). It ran for 10 years and kept the Dean Martin Show on the air.

Today’s politicians like this approach as well – because they can’t seem to say a kind word about one another. From the President calling people names like Rocket man or Pocahontas – to Hillary calling Trump supporters deplorable – to Biden calling them the dregs of society – to others saying they would like to blow up the White House – or other hateful talk. Other hateful talk includes calling law enforcement officers pigs or calling for them to be shot or killed. Such hateful talk – when we are called to build each other up.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Ephesians 4:17–32 – 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

In the midst of instructions about Christian living is the teaching that we should 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. How have we been doing? Are we building one another up? Are we striving to encourage others? Over the years – I have found that some people – even in the church – seem to think their spiritual gift is to be critical – never seeing the good in one another or in events or happenings. Let’s practice building one another up – even our pastor! He or she just might be a better pastor if they felt affirmed rather than criticized. What do you think?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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September 20, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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