This Bible verse, written by the Apostle Paul concerning our transformation from the “old” nature into the new person that God has created us to be, is one of my favorites. When Paul uses the word, “corrupt”, he is thinking of something that once it has infected someone will cause damage and decay. I read once that when someone has been told something really negative like, “you’ll never amount to anything!” that it will take ten positive affirmations to counter the damage that was done to their self-esteem. But imagine that mostly all you hear are negative damaging attacks on your character and behavior. How many positive encouraging statements will it take for you to recover? Like someone who is attached to an IV full of antibiotics to fight a raging infection, it will take a steady flow of affirming words to repair the damage to your soul.
In jails and prisons, I encounter lots of different people and I can usually tell in just a few minutes the ones that have been verbally assaulted since they were young. Often those destructive words have contributed to their commission of their crimes and present incarceration. The self-medicating that a large percentage of inmates have done with drugs and alcohol was, in part, to anesthetize the pain of vicious words suffered since their youth.
The other side of this issue is the power of words to “edify”, or build someone up that has been broken down through years of verbal assault. Speaking God’s grace into someone’s life can have nearly instantaneous results at times. I encourage new Christians in prison to start using their words to build other inmates up and introduce them to God’s positive words of grace, His unmerited favor. He loves us even when we have done nothing to deserve it. Practice speaking positive Biblical words into the lives of those that are hurting and longing for God’s affirmation!