The 429 Principle
Ephesians 4:29: 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.
Living according to the 429 Principle is when you decide only to say what builds others up and benefits those who listen.
We all have a fleshy, prideful, attention-seeking side that leans toward sharing the flaws of others. It is time we all choose to encourage instead of leading our conversations with: Did you hear what she said…? Did you notice when he…..? Can you believe what she did….? Did you know….?
Ask yourself, do I talk negatively about friends, neighbors, and relatives? Do I find myself talking more about the selfishness of others than dealing with my own issues?
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” It is a choice of how you speak: You can talk negatively about others. You can build others up. You can promote death. You can encourage life.
Not only should we become 429’ers, but we should also stop spending time with those whose talk is marked by criticism. Proverbs 20:19 says, “Do not associate with a gossip.”
And know this – If someone talks negatively about others to you, they will speak negatively about you to others.
Negativity breeds negativity. Positivity breeds positivity. You will become more like those you hang around. So, choose your friends wisely.
We tend to defend ourselves by saying, “I am just speaking the truth.” Well, there is no “truth caveat” in Ephesians 4:29. There are plenty of positive truths – stick with those.
Being a 429’er Does Not Mean Being a “Yes Man”.
Being a 429’er doesn’t mean you ignore the negative behavior of others. It means having the courage to share directly with the individual instead of sharing their flaws with others.
Scripture tells us in Proverbs, “The wounds of a friend can be trusted.” It doesn’t say wound friends by sharing with others. We can be courageous friends who help one another, or we can cowardly seek attention by tearing others down.
Living out the 429 Principle will do wonders for your marriage. You will become the safest and most encouraging person in your spouse’s life.
You can work hard, serve, and invest in your marriage, but if you don’t control your tongue, it all becomes worthless. See James 1:26.
Take a self-test and really listen to yourself. For two days, count the times you say something negative about another person. Then, without condemnation, chart a new path forward to speak life and not death.
When you think of something negative, keep it to yourself. When you think of something positive, speak it. Become more and more of a life-speaker and less and less of a death-speaker.
Luke 6:45 says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When we are 429 violators, it reveals an issue with our heart.
While self-will is involved, the key to controlling our tongue is intimacy with Christ. The closer we draw to Jesus, the more we submit our lives to Him, and the more we grow in trust, the more we speak life and the less we speak death.
The tongue is a tricky thing. I am even tempted to talk negatively about others because they talk negatively. So, apply 429 to yourself and grow in honoring God and others in how you speak.