Our words set the course for our lives. They hold more power than we like to believe. They certainly reveal more about the condition of our heart than we want others to know.
As a pastor I get asked a particular question all the time… Is cussing a sin? Does God expect me to change the way I talk? How do I change a lifetime of bad habits and speech behaviors overnight?
I’ll be honest, teaching God’s word becomes an arduous task for me when there are christians and pastors that speak the way they do. My response to anyone who would ask about how God feels tonwards profane language, or even the replacement words that we christians have grown comfortable saying in mixed company is this:
1. Do the words you use debase and cheapen God’s glorious reality?
– Don’t take big glorious words and belittle them.
– For instance… God, JESUS Christ, Hell, and Damn.
– The Bible is pretty clear when it says don’t take the name of the Lord in vain. (Exodus 20:7) We should not use these kingdom words that have weight and meaning to them as throw-away words. Do you struggle with this?
2. Do the words you use come under the category of crude, off color, vulgar, offensive, rude or filthy?
3. Do the words you use reveal a bitter, overly angry, dissatisfied heart rather than a thankful one?
4. Do the words you use minister grace to those who hear them?
People that tend to use a lot of four letter words, do so with a harsh, crude, rude, rash, tone and are generally sounding pretty angry. They are not content. They are not happy in JESUS. Something is out of whack in their heart.
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
So Paul is saying, let your language always be good for people or minister grace to others.
So if you’re going to say four letter words or slang replacements, the questions you should ask yourself is, “Will this impart grace to people? Is it going to build them up? Is it going to make them stronger? Is it going to make Christ more beautiful in their eyes?”
Most of the language that is offensive or profane is simply contrary to ministering grace or living it out. So turn to JESUS at the start of your day. Hold your tongue when your heart begins to fill with hurt, anger, or frustration and instead of spewing hatred offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. (Hebrews 13:15)