In Spanish Ephesians 4:29 reads like this:
Ninguna palabra corrompida salga de vuestra boca, sino la que sea buena para la necesaria edificación, a fin de dar gracia a los oyentes. (Reina Valera 1960)
You may be more familiar with the verse in English:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (King James Version)
The verse in Spanish expresses my thoughts on this subject most clearly. Here is my understanding…
Not one word that is corrupt should be allowed to escape your mouth; rather that which is good for necessary edification, with the end goal to give grace to those who hear you. (Angie’s paraphrase)
In Spanish the noun ‘building’ is ‘edificio’ and the verb ‘to build’ is ‘edificar’. In English a building is also an ‘edifice’. So now we can look into this phrase: necessary edification.
The words we say can corrupt or build. Think of the foundations of a building. If rot, rust, infestation or other such corrupting elements set in the building will be unsafe to use and might even topple over. Our words can do that to the lives of others.
There is no middle ground here. Necessary edification indicates that the words we say can be the life line that another person needs. You can build the life of another person. Compliment and you are laying the concrete. Bless and you are laying the bricks. Your encouragement is necessary for those who hear you. First for the person you try to build up and next for the people who overhear you encouraging and imitate your efforts.
Pick a person to intentionally edify with your words. Trust me, they need it. Then come back and tell us how it went.