Monday, July 8, 2013

"Foul Language", what's the big deal?

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."  Colossians 4:6

Many many moons ago, when I was a 19 year old military gal, I regularly cursed like a sailor.  Words came out of my mouth that would make my skin crawl today.  The need to fit in and be accepted among my co-workers was, at that time, stronger than any desire to be kind, gracious or useful.  

I had never been taught not to curse, I certainly knew it would not be acceptable to do in front of my parents, but I was never told it was wrong.  If I knew somewhere deep inside that it was wrong, I didn't know WHY.

For those who know me today, this may be really hard to imagine.  My strongest exclamation these days is "Gracious sakes alive!",  this change has absolutely nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Jesus.  Once I made the choice to surrender myself to Him, He gave me the desire and will to change, but He is the one who changed me.

Two things to consider:

1.  We cannot expect those who do not know Christ to understand what scripture says about foul language. We can pray, to seek how God would use us in their lives, and pray for their hearts to be changed.  We can encourage them to have respect for others and especially to watch their language in the presence of women. 

1 Corinthians 2:14 - "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."

2.  We cannot change other Christians, but we can be examples to them.  Many Christians like to say "God may be convicting YOU about that, but He's not convicting ME about that right now...".  
Do not be mistaken, if they are a Christian, they are convicted, but they are choosing to ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  Pray for your Christian brothers and sisters. 

James 3:10,11 - "...from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.  Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?"

One of the common questions I hear regarding harsh language, foul language, curse words, etc... is this:  Who determines what is considered a curse word?  I mean to say, just because the bible says not to let "corrupting talk" come out of our mouths...who is to determine what is meant by "corrupt"?  
-"What if I use words or language and "to me" it's acceptable?"  
-"The Bible doesn't give us specific words, so how can we know?"  
-"I was brought up this way, it's just part of my culture"...

Matthew 12:36-37 - "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgement.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Our words reveal the state of our hearts.

I think the questions of "what exactly is foul when it comes to language?", can easily be answered when our hearts are soft and willing to change.  When we surrender ourselves to Christ, the Holy Spirit is our teacher, He guides us, leads us, directs us and ... convicts us...WHEN we are open to Him.  Though it is true, many people will fight tooth and nail, because they still want to please their own flesh and they still want to please the world around them and be "accepted".  

Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

The Bible has plenty to say on curse words and foul language.  After reading through just a few of these scriptures, I think we can all be clear about what words we should not allow to slip from our lips.  Do not count yourself a fool and pretend that you do not know when words taste bitter slipping out of your mouth.  When you are speaking in a group of your friends, are you using the exact same words you would use to speak to your own Mother?  When you pray, do you use these words to speak to the Lord Jesus Christ?  Is your speech obscene, degrading, foolish or dirty?  Is it suggestive or immoral?  Would you use these exact words to gently soothe your child?

Ephesians 5:4 - "...and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."  

Do your words tear down or lift up?  Are you speaking in such a way that someone will know they can come to you when they hit rock bottom?  Are your words those that fill others with hope and encouragement?  Or are your words just useless filler that serve only to please the world?

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no unwholesome (*foul or rotten) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."  

*Foul language of any sort should never pass a Christian's lips, because it is totally out of character with his new life in Christ.

As Christians, we need to be keenly aware of the impression we leave wherever we go.  We are Christ's ambassadors, we are His imprint on the world around us.  Are we leaving a bad impression of our Holy Lord by opening our mouths?

Matthew 15:11 - "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what  proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." (*moral defilement corrupts a persons soul)
2 Timothy 2:16 - "But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness"

Furthermore, what do we take in when we sit in front of a TV or go to a movie?  Do you soak in the language of this world?  Or do you avoid it, regardless of what is the "popular" thing to do?  

Do you believe that you can listen to "a few" curse words but not the "really bad" ones?  How are you to determine that, by which measurement do you choose?

Who lives inside of you?  Who are you sitting with on your couch watching that show?  Who are you taking to the movies with you?  If you are a Christian, Jesus is with you.  You are subjecting Him to this language, are you OK with that?

Titus 2:12 - "instructing us to deny ungodliness and  worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,..."

If you are struggling at all in your Christian walk, if you are struggling at all with wanting to change the words you use in your daily life, I would suggest you remove all that language from your "input" that it doesn't affect your "output".  What you put into your heart is what will pour out of your heart...

Luke 6:45 - The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."

Is it difficult to change in this world that surrounds us with so much filth and enticing sin?  Yes, I believe for many, it is.  God is not throwing you out into this world alone, and asking you to change yourselves.  He is asking for you to surrender yourselves to Him, He will do the changing. 

Isaiah 64:8 - But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand."
James 1:5-8 - But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double minded man, unstable in all his ways."

In closing, I leave you with this scripture.  I am sure you are aware of all the words that we are speaking about, you can know them without me speaking them.  This name, Jesus, Lord, God, the name of our Almighty Creator, Maker of heaven and earth.... this name is used as a curse word.  

This is the most heartbreaking of all...

Exodus 20:7 - "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Please take the time to pray about the words that leave your mouth.  Pray about what is in your heart and ask God to change you from the inside out.  Ask Him to help you use your words to lift up others, and to show love and joy in a world that is in such need of a kind word.

Have a beautiful day!
Kathy C.

*statements marked with an asterisk are taken from the NASB The MacArthur Study Bible