There have been some very obvious changes happening in the English language of late. Some
people refer to these as the simple evolution of communication that takes place as technology, culture, and knowledge grow. We may very well agree that it can be natural, necessary, and even good. But not all of it is good in the eyes of God.
Some of these new or expanded meanings are OK, such as in the technology world, after all,
things do change. However, others do not improve or clarify understanding when used. A prime example is seen in the huge spike in using vulgarity in communication. Many “four-letter-words”are now considered ordinary, expected, and necessary in both personal and business communication.
What is God’s advice and commands regarding this type of communication? In Colossians
3:8-10, God says this through the Apostle Paul, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as this: anger, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips...since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
With these instructions in mind, it is surprising to hear even Christians use expletives freely in
today’s world. Perhaps many believers are not aware of God’s perspective. Often, one-third to one-half of what people may say are simple vulgar expletives in their attempt to express themselves or make a point, or shock you to grab your attention. Some live in this kind of environment daily at work or in the home. It is easy to see how they would fall in step if not taught the Biblical truths. This is similar to the days of the Colossian Christians to whom Paul wrote.
What else does God’s Word have to say about our use of words? In I Kings 5:7, Solomon’s
words brought praise to the Lord. When Nehemiah heard the words of his countryman Hanani
(Nehemiah 1:4), these words caused weeping and mourning. In the Bible, we also read of vain words (Psalm 4:2), pure words (Psalm 12:6), words that bring trouble, wickedness, and deception (Psalm 36:3), rash words (Ecclesiastes 5:2), or words that bless (I Kings 5:7). Our words have a great effect on those around us in positive or negative ways. They build up and they tear down. They curse and they bless. In the case of vulgarity, they are often used to distract from otherwise mindlessness and nothingness regarding the lack of content or truth. Those who speak in this way have little to offer, if anything, to create good, new descriptive clarity to a message. Rather, they are simply returning to old lies, ancient godlessness.
As Christians may we be careful to kindly and lovingly bring truth and clarity to understanding
God, His ways, and His creation. Let us not confuse those around us or blur their view of God in the way we speak. “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.”(Proverbs 25:26). “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”(Proverbs 25:28).
In contrast, we read that, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
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