Does the language we use matter?
I’m not talking about improper grammar and syntax. I’m talking about the actual words, phrases, and sentences that come out of our mouths. Curse words, lies, gossip, rumors, dirty jokes, insults – these are all heard within the first fifteen minutes of powering on our televisions. And if you pay attention, these are all heard throughout the day coming out of the mouths of those who claim to be Christians.
There are some out there who simply refuse to believe that words have any power or hold any sway on the state of our souls. But while “THE WORDS” might change over time, it’s more of a heart issue than anything else. So I will not sit here and tell you which words not to say (and neither does Scripture), but I think we are all smart enough to figure that one out.
What I do want to do with this post is to simply string together quotations from Scripture and from modern times without my added commentary. I don’t think I need to add my own voice in this discussion much at all. I’ll let wiser men and biblical authors (and JESUS!) do the talking for me.
“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” – George Washington
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” – Jesus, Matthew 5:21-22
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” – Paul, Ephesians 4:25
“Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcefully.” – Spencer Kimball
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Jesus, Matthew 12:36-37
“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:6
“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.” – Paul, Ephesians 4:29
“To swear is neither brave, polite, nor wise.” – Alexander Pope
“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” – Jesus, Matthew 15:17-20
“If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.” – Earl Wilson
“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” – Paul, Ephesians 5:4
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” – James 3:9-10
So how should we talk? I’ll leave you with these Scriptures and let them speak for themselves again.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – Paul, 1 Timothy 4:12
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Paul, Colossians 4:6
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – David, Psalm 19:14