44 Question 4

The Bible has much to say about the language we use.  The tongue can be a very hard thing to control.  Let’s read James 3:5-10, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:   But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”  Solomon, the wisest of all men wrote in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  How powerful is this little instrument of ours.

The Word of God instructs us to use our words for good.  Again, in Proverbs 15:23 we are told, “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”  The right word spoken at the right time is a pleasant thing to hear.  When we use the wrong words, or use words that are inappropriate, profane, or indecent; we hurt others, embarrass ourselves and dishonor the Lord.  Let’s read Colossians 3:5-9 which says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.”  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are instructed to do away with those things in our lives that displease and dishonor our savior.  We naturally think that things such as fornication, lust, and evil desires are terrible and Christians should not do those things.  The Lord also wants us to get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from our lives.  Filthy language would include talking about things that we should not talk about and using language that is inappropriate.

Let’s read Ephesians 5:1-5, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”  We can again see from this portion that the words we use and the things we talk about are addressed.  We should not use profanity to express ourselves.  We should not tell dirty or off-color jokes.  These things are ‘out of place’.  They do not fit in with the Christian’s testimony.

In the sad story of Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus, we see that he cursed at those around him.  Matthew 26:69-74 says, “Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.”  We don’t know the words that Peter used when he cursed, but we can see he was in a rage and in a panic and he used words that would have been considered curse words in that time.

A good rule of thumb for believers would be to make sure that the words we use are helpful, encouraging, and God-honoring.  May we be like David who prayed in Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”