Does Your Speech Fall Into Any Of These Categories?
Decades ago, the use of profanity was considered uncouth in speech. “Good” people simply did not swear, and if one was uttered, an audible gasp could be heard throughout the room followed by silence. All conversations would cease, and people would turn to the individual who had the audacity to use such unacceptable language.
Today, profanity has become part of our everyday speech and had permeated every form of media out there. There are few shows on television now that are free from swearing, and as a result, it is now commonplace. This has become the average person.
Now, let’s take a look at the three categories that Christians fall into: those that still use profanity, those that think they don’t but use “almost” swears, and those who use godly language.
Those That Use Profanity
Many Christians justify the use of profanity by saying that they are an adult, and as an adult, they can say what they want to or they only swear when they are upset for emphasis. The only time that they even notice swearing, most times, are if their children use it- then it is not acceptable. I would ask you, however, if it’s not acceptable for your children to swear, then why are you?
You can say, “Well, they are a child and I’m the adult”, and that’s valid. However, according to the Bible, we are to be godly examples for our children to follow. Our language should be clean and honoring to God. Scripture is very clear on the subject of swearing or “cussing”, and it says that it is not pleasing to God.
One type of swearing is taking the Lord’s name in vain. This is done using these popular phrases, “Oh my God! (OMG)”, “Oh God!”, etc. Worse yet, is that everything on earth is holy (“Holy!” “Holy ____”)! There is only one thing that is holy, and that is God.
“You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:12
““You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. ” Exodus 20:7
Another type of profanity is the usage of expletives and while the Bible doesn’t specifically say do not swear, it does teach specifically on corrupt speech which is defined by lewdness, corrupt vocabulary, anger, “swearing” as used in phrases such as “I swear on my mother’s grave”, “Cross my heart and hope to die should I lie”, and “I swear”.
“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” James 5:12
Swearing or cussing tends to fall into the “corrupt speech” category. If the words you choose are not intended to edify but tear down, are used in anger (as we often do in profanity), or is not praise worthy or in thanksgiving, you are using corrupt language.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:22
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. ” Proverbs 8:13
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Colosians 3:8
When we swear, we are not building anyone or anything up- we are cursing it. We are using it out of anger or frustration. It does not edify, nor is it giving praise or thanksgiving. Therefore, since it fails all three categories according to the Bible, it is not acceptable. Verbal abuse falls under this category as well.
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:10
Lewdness is another form of unclean speech. Often said in “jest” or for a reaction, it is indeed corrupt speech.
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4
Lewdness is full of sexual innuendos where you allow yourself to say perverted speech and no one knows whether you are serious or not because if you are questioned, you can simply say that you were joking. Again, it does not edify, and is usually accompanied by lustful vocabulary- yet another thing that God does not like.
Christians Who Don’t Swear- Well, Almost!
The “almost” swear is very subtle, and in many circles has become acceptable because it is not direct profanity. The almost swear are words such as “heck”, “frickin'”, “Oh my goodness!”, “shoot” etc. They are words that we say that aren’t swears, but are used in place of swears. Yet the intent to swear or use profanity is still the same. It isn’t clean because the intent is still there to swear.
Christians Who Use Godly Language
There are thousands of words in the english vocabulary that we can use to describe things, people and places. Profanity comprises a small amount of it, but is used so prolifically! Godly language is language which serves the purpose of bringing beauty, positivity, praise and thanksgiving into a situation. Even correction is to be said in love. We sin all the time, however, I have heard the example said that God doesn’t swear at us, but corrects us in love. The Bible should be our guide as to how we should speak.
Anger shouldn’t emanate from our lips. Godly language uses a firm tone when necessary, and the only anger that is acceptable is righteous anger. Righteous anger is when someone violates the principles of the Bible, and it is done both deliberately and with intent. Righteous anger is when Christians are killed for their beliefs, churches are burned, people curse God or come against Him, or corruption. It is anything that God detests. Even then profanity should still not exit your lips!
Ideally, we should be aware of our speech at all times, and keep our hearts guarded. What we speak comes from our heart, and what goes into our hearts is what we meditate on or what we are exposed to. That is why Christians are told to be mindful of what you watch, what you hear, and who you associate yourself with as all of these forms can corrupt you.
Cleaning up your speech isn’t an easy job as you need to be actively aware of what you are saying. However, with practice you can eliminate all of these words from your vocabulary. It helps to be mindful of what you choose to watch as it can filter into your thoughts and your vocabulary. Also, be mindful of the company that you keep.
When your speech changes, you will also notice that the speech with often change with those who are around you. People may not swear around you anymore and tend to apologize- even though you haven’t said a word. Subtle social clues are unconsciously picked up on even if the person has not recognized that you stopped using profanity.
Last of all, ask for God’s forgiveness, and for God to help you in this area. The Holy Spirit will let you know when you have not used your words properly.
May all of your speech be edifying, uplifting, encouraging, and praise-worthy! Also, if you know of someone who needs to hear this message, please feel free to share!
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