“No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Greetings fellow sojourners!
As the guard over our mouth, we should always be asking, “Does that speech minister grace?” “Does it build up?” “Does it demonstrate the loveliness of Christ in someone else’s eyes?”
To me, profanity has become rampant these days. I read something recently that said profanity is often the result of idolatry, injustice, or irreverence. The statement made me pause and put it to the test. Let’s consider these points, and you can put them to the test for yourself.
Idolatry. One thing we can proficiently do is idolize self. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says love is not rude. If someone admires self they say things like, “I can do this, I have the right to talk like this.” Pride is beneath a lot of this profane language. But love seeks to honor because it is humble and not self-asserting. “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). There are some dialogs which are inappropriate, dishonorable, disgraceful and indecent but love can masterfully rise above a dialog of sludge and instead ascend to God as a pleasing aroma.
Injustice. If you consider injustice, a word that might come to your mind is corrupt. Peter warned that we should “be saved from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40). It seems to me this generation is quick to release the floodgates on any language they see fit and the greater the shock value to make their point, the better. Is it a just way to behave? Have we really become that immune?
Irreverance. Possibly all we need to consider here are some synonyms for this word to rev our thoughts. Blasphemy. Flippant. Insult. Rudeness. Sinfulness. Mockery.
“Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks” (Ephesians 5:4). Taking significant, weighty, and glorious things and trivializing them or speaking as if they weren’t important is inappropriate. When you consider the word ‘crude’ is something simple and primitive, we must know we are capable of much more than ‘simple’ and ‘primitive.’ This verse says we instead ought to be giving thanks.
If our heart is thankful, we will not be speaking harsh, obscene, and foul talk. If we are speaking this way in an attempt to fit in, Scripture has already shown us we are not to fit in, but instead we are to be saved from this corrupt generation (Acts 2:40). Perhaps we are using the offensive and questionable language because our heart is not content. We are not happy in Jesus. When we imitate the way of Jesus, we demonstrate His beauty to others. When we follow after the pattern of the world we show the vandalizing effects of Satan.
As the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), we should be instructing others with our words and guarding Truth. If we attempt to lead others with language peppered with profanity, we must know it indicates our approval of obscene, foolish, and crude talk in the life of the Christian which most likely will create a stumbling block for others.
Friends, we are to live to cherish Christ and the gospel above all. That should mean that grace is abounding in our hearts. Therefore, most of the language that is offensive and questionable is merely contrary to ministering grace and living out of grace.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for granting me a sound mind and bestowing Your Spirit that counsels me in the truth. Therefore, I am well able to distinguish between words that can vandalize and words that can edify. I desire to guard my words. It is by Your power that I am victoriously anointed to be a righteous saint of the Living God. I am grateful. Amen.
In His grace,