Let's talk about profanity. Cussing. Using foul language.
Yes, I have cussed before. I'd be lying if I acted like I haven't. So I do need to own up to that.
And I bet a lot of you have at least some experience in this as well.
During high school in the mid 80's, I worked at Simpson's Hardware here in Sumter. Specifically, I spent my time in the garden center. One day I watched this young kid, who was standing by his dad, drop something on the ground. Then he cussed out loud. "What did you say?", asked his dad. I thought to myself that this kid might get the spanking of a lifetime right there in front of me. The kid looked at his dad and repeated what he said. Then the dad beamed with pride at his son, rubbed his head with a smile, and said, "That's my boy!" Wow! I was stunned. That's not what I was expecting.
It seems to be everywhere these days. Even some of the "cool" preachers do it. Men, women, boys, and girls curse and swear openly without any sense of remorse. Some do it out of habit. Others do it to be shocking or funny. And there are those who do it when they are hurting or frustrated.
So, what does God think about this? Does He care how we talk? That's definitely worth considering.
Here are a few passages of scripture:
"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth." Colossians 3:8
"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
"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
The above scripture passages weave together a clear message about our daily vocabulary. What needs to be set aside is "obscene talk", "corrupting talk", "filthiness", "crude joking", and speech that is "out of place." Instead, the words we use should be "building up" others and granting "grace to those who hear." Also in our language "let there be thanksgiving" for what God has done for us.
Look, I don't think we need to be legalistic here and come up with some sort of list about what's appropriate to say and what's not. And I sure don't think any of us needs to become "language police" who blow a whistle and dish out a rebuke every time someone drops a verbal bomb of some sort. But I do think we all (including me) would do well to think before we speak. Also, it should be noted by every one of us that God does indeed care about the language we use.
Let's use words that honor our Lord.
Let's use words that stir noble thoughts in the minds of others.
Let's use words that are becoming of a Christian.
May God help us with our daily speech. His forgiveness can cleanse us from our inappropriate words. And His Spirit can help our language be much more positive and Christ-like. After all, we have a witness to maintain and an example to set. Yes, our words do indeed matter to God. And they need to matter to us.