Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
This sets up a basis for how we should speak to each other in a Christian community. This isn’t saying that we should only speak to each other by quoting Scripture and singing songs. Try and picture that in your mind. That’s some kind of very bizarre Broadway musical –everything you say here has to either be sung or quoted. But this isn’t a stage production, this is real life and if God’s Word has any meaning at all, it’s got to mean something in real life, not just in theory, so what does this mean?
This is teaching us that allowing the Word to dwell in us –to be a part of us –to be internalized so that it becomes the basis for our world-view will make us wise. So, speak to one another and relate to one another from a specifically Christian world-view. Encourage one another and bless one another with the wisdom that comes from knowing God, and the joy that comes from praising God. Our words to each other, then, should be encouraging and uplifting –they should be a welcome blessing. There is good, godly wisdom in speaking blessing into each other’s lives.
Contrast this with the worldy wisdom James speaks of in James 3:15-16:
For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.
This worldy wisdom that drives us to curse others is all about selfish ambition and watching out for number one. It’s not even wisdom as we like to think of it –it’s more of a self-preservationist street-smarts. And because we live in the world where this street-smart kind of wisdom rules, it sometimes rubs off on us. We might find ourselves –even in church –watching out for our own interests. We might find ourselves angrily or selfishly speaking curses into the lives of brothers and sisters –although probably not out loud because we still like to keep up appearances. But, it’s not unusual, even in churches to hear people talking about each other behind one another’s back, spreading gossip, speaking ill. It’s kind of human nature and it’s so prevalent in the world, that this bad stuff sometimes creeps into the church.
That is how the culture of the world operates. But in the church, it is supposed to be different. The church by definition is counter-culture. At least it is by Jesus’ definition. Look at Jesus’ instruction to us.
Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you.
That’s not how it works out there, is it? But that is how it is supposed to work among Believers.
The world’s way is a way of self-seeking, self-serving, selfish ambition -looking out for number one. That is destructive. It harms us. But, God has given us the right and the responsibility to care for each other and pray for each other and speak healing and blessing into each other’s lives.
Our words are important –they matter –they make a difference. We can curse people and speak lies into their lives –or we can bless them and speak truth into their lives. We can build them up or we can tear them down. Knowing the importance of words and the affects they have, Paul encourages us to let the Word of Christ dwell in us –to be imbedded in us -to become part of us –and to speak to each other out of this specifically Christian world-view that develops as a result of knowing God and worshiping Him sincerely.