This past Tuesday, a fellow Reformed Alliance writer Ashton Clark wrote an excellent post on the “Decay of Language in Social Media.” All that he had to say was very true and advantageous. Language is extremely crucial for Christians, and it is part of our jobs to ensure it is preserved. That being said, when we use language, we must make sure that it is pure, appropriate, and that it aligns with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
There are several verses that talk about this matter. The first that I wish to talk about can be found in Colossians 3:8 (ESV), “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Paul is very clear on this subject. When we speak, we must speak with kindness rather than anger… love rather than wrath… benevolence rather than malice… respect rather than slander… and purity rather than obscenity. It gets too easy to get angry at someone for whatever reason, and I get it. When I get behind someone going absurdly slow on the road, I get so frustrated. When someone is a jerk and is rude to me or other people, it makes me want to slap him or her. But in those times, we must take a deep breath and remind ourselves of who we belong to.
And then there is the aspect of cursing. In today’s society, it is extremely common to curse. So many people do it and even encourage it. A lot of times we do it out of pride, to show how angry we are or to act like we are no different than everyone else. But the Scriptures say that we are above the world and that we were created to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4). The fact is, we are called to be set apart from the world. Instead of using words for prideful reasons, we should use them to humble ourselves. Instead of using language in anger, we are to use it in love.
We not only speak in love but also with thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4 (ESV) talks about this when it reads, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” While the verse from before talked about angry words, this addresses inappropriate, filthy, and foolish joking and talking. Another issue with our culture is the use of filthy, disgusting, and inappropriate jokes. For some reason, people find jokes about sex, saddening events, and real-life issues to be funny. Sadly, I almost expect it from people that are in the world. But when a Christian partakes in these jokes? It truly saddens me. We are called to do the exact opposite. Instead of partaking in these jokes and conversations, we are to turn our attention to God. To thank Him for all that He has done. When we think on a more positive note about thanking Him who gave us all that we have, our true hearts are revealed.
This brings me to my next point. The words we say show others our true colors. Are we going to talk in malice and slander with filthy and inappropriate language? Or are we going to express the very definition of love with our words, giving thanks to God? Jesus Himself talks about this subject in Matthew 15:17-20 (ESV). Jesus says, “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” It isn’t the food we eat that makes us dirty. Rather, it is the words that come from the heart. What we say will define us. Sure, people can lie. But those who lie about themselves still show their hearts which are mistrusting and/or deceptive.
If you have an evil heart, your words will be evil. If you have a murderous heart, your words will be full of hate. If your heart is full of adultery and sexual immorality, then your words will be full of inappropriate and filthy words. These things are what defile us. However, there is still some great news. While your heart may be defiled, there is still hope for you. God can change a heart of stone. In fact, it is the only reason people are Christians. We can’t choose God because of the depraved hearts that we have. But God changes the hearts of those whom He calls, cleans them, and makes them new. Once God gives us a new heart, we are able to love God and use our words to glorify Him who saved us.
This leads me to my final point. As Christians, we are to glorify God. There is a phrase you will often see on this website and hear from many Reformed believers: Soli Deo Gloria, meaning glory to God alone. This idea is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) because it reads, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This includes the words we choose to say. When we talk, we are to talk out of love. We are to have thanksgiving on our lips. And when we do these things with a changed heart, we glorify God. Every time you curse, you dishonor God. Every time you make a filthy joke, you dishonor God. And so, we must watch what we say. It is so important for Christians to understand this. Our language must remain pure and loving. As Christians, we are representing God. It is a slap in the face when someone acts surprised to hear that you are a child of God because the language you use doesn’t show it. It is my goal in life to love God and to glorify Him through all that I do: including the words that I speak.
As previously mentioned, Ashton is very right about how important it is for Christians to preserve language. So when we do preserve and use language in our everyday life, we must put away all that is evil. When we have conversations with others, we need to check ourselves so that we do not use inappropriate language. Rather we must thank God for changing our heart and glorify God for all that He has done. There is a serious issue in today’s society with the use of curse words, dirty jokes, and other evil words. We as Christians know better than that. I urge you to make a conscious effort to check your language and that of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. May we all use the words we speak in love and thanksgiving in order to glorify our great God!
Soli Deo Gloria!