Be Careful, Little Mouth
Read Colossians Chapter 3
Col 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Almost every topic that I write about is one that I desperately need. There’s so much in my life which needs improvement. It causes those subjects to stand out and jump into my heart. Today will be different. We will look at something in verse 8 which has been on my mind a lot lately, but isn’t something which has been a major problem for me. While it hasn’t been a problem for me in the past, I still have to consider the subject occasionally in order to remain aware of its danger.
That subject is filthy language. Christians have been so focused on other sin problems lately that this subject has been rarely mentioned. There must be a good reason that Paul listed filthy language in a list which included anger, rage, malice, and slander. I fear that many Christians have let this problem slide in their lives; not because they believe it is okay, but because filthy language has become so commonplace in modern society. One can hardly go a day, or sometimes and hour, without hearing one of the common four letter words uttered in their presence.
I suppose I worked in a bubble. One great thing I can say about the job I had for 35 years is that I rarely heard any course language. People tell me that it is a very common thing in most workplaces. I do remember one of my bosses using the S word occasionally, but that’s about the extent of my experience. I hear more course and filthy language at our local fast food joints than I ever did at work. But here’s the worst part. Four-letter words are becoming more common in Christian circles.
We need to remind ourselves that our Lord would never have used that kind of language.
Why is it such a bad thing? Why does scripture advise us to avoid filthy language? I can think of a few possible reasons and maybe you can think of others.
1. It serves no good purpose. We likely would be hard pressed to discover a situation where such language gives purposeful meaning to a conversation. Idle words are rarely of value.
2. Usually, that kind of talk is a way of emphasizing some other emotion, such as anger or rage. It often expresses a way of enhancing some other point. For example, “H… no!” A simple “No” would always be sufficient – no four letter word adds to its meaning.
3. From a non-biblical standpoint, when does filthy language ever add to the depth of a conversation? It doesn’t. It only suggests that maybe the person speaking has a limited vocabulary. There are better ways of deepening the message and content of any point made.
No matter what reason Paul had in mind, we can be sure of this – the message was given to Paul by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he mentions filthy language as being something we should avoid. Here is another mention of this by Paul.
Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
That passage backs up our point number 1. Unwholesome talk is of no value to anyone and accomplishes nothing good. Our speech is an important asset in our representation of Christ to this world.
Prayer: Lord, we have so many parts of our life which need Your touch. Please remind us that our speech has great value when under the control of the Holy Spirit.