April 17, 2014.
How much of what we say really matters? Does it really matter what we say? What we talk about? What references we make? This is a hard subject for a lot of Christians. It is becoming the norm to be less and less “strict” when it comes to the language we use and what we talk about as Christians. It is unpleasant to reprimand anyone for what they say, and if we do, we are just being those “old, fundamental” Christians.
But is this right? Should we not care about what we say? Or at least not as much as “strict” Christians? I think the first question we should ask when examining this is “What does the bible say?”
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous that is, an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
Ask yourself: if one of my friends came up to me and said what Paul said above, how would I react? Would I be receptive, or angry? The reason I am posting about this today is because one of my friends mentioned this passage yesterday and it made me think. It is so easy just to talk crudely, even without using crude language. There’s almost a rush that comes with it. It doesn’t feel like it is hurting anyone, and many times it isn’t. I say all this from experience. This concept was first brought up to me during my friend’s church camp that I went to one year. I was a lot younger, and you know how young boys tend to joke around inappropriately at times. One night, we were making inappropriate jokes and then next day we had a lesson on it. Needless to say, it made us feel really bad.
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Paul seems to be adamant about this subject. I think what we don’t realize is the power of the tongue and our language. The tongue is often referred to as a double edged sword. Such a small member of the body with so much power. And it’s easy to forget about. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” is so untrue. Sometimes words hurt even more than physical violence. They cut deep to the soul.
So how can we fight against this? I think one of the first things we need to do is to realize that our words really do matter. We shouldn’t take what we say lightly. They hold a lot of weight. Secondly, we need to get into the habit of not using crude language. This will be hard at first if you are not used to moderating your speech, but that’s what habits are for, right? I’ve heard it said “I couldn’t help it, I stubbed my toe and that was the first thing that came out of my mouth!” My question is why? If it is the first thing that comes to mind, it is because that language has become habitual. Even just hanging out with friends who use the language all the time can influence how we speak when we aren’t thinking. This is the third thing we can do: get people to help us. Initiate this challenge of not using crude language in your group of friends. It is always easier to do something when you have other people working with you.
Finally, let us remember the words of the bible, and put them into practice.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Suggested Daily Reading: Ephesians 4-5, Colossians 3, James 3.
Let us do all for the encouragement of one another.