Verse 25 of the same chapter instructs us to "speak truthfully." How often do we get frustrated or upset and speak our minds "truthfully", but not helpfully? Are we "speaking our mind" and justifying ourselves with the sentiment, "well, it's true."? It seems like lately a number of the conversations I've had with people about relational problems they're having relate to this sort of thing. It's got me asking myself if I too am only concerned about speaking the truth or if I'm committed to speaking the truth in love? How am I doing at choosing my words in a way that is "helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen"?
Here's an example of what I mean. Let's say your kids get sick on a family vacation three years in a row, and in a moment of frustration you say "I sure hope ya'll don't make a habit of this." The sentiment may be "true", but it is NOT helpful. Helpful would be to point yourself and your kids to the love of a sovereign God who is working even this out for good somehow, and to encourage all concerned to trust Him and to practice contentment with what He gives.
I love the book of Ephesians...God has rescued us and continues to work in us. He's made us one body, Christ's body. People do need to hear the truth, but not a "truth" couched in anger or ill will. We're not brought into the body of Christ to stomp on each other, but to help build each other up, to encourage each other to put off the old man and put on the new for the glory of the One who redeems.