Christian Speech

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A certain doctor did a study on how many words a person speaks in a day. Men and women alike average around 16,000 words per day. One person who spoke the least, spoke 795 words in one day, while another spoke 47,000 words in one day.
Speech is very much a part of our lives and is a beautiful avenue God created to relate with others. As a result of man's choice to sin, the devil has corrupted something that was and is beautiful. It should not surprise us that the Bible has clear direction as to what kind of words should come out of our mouth. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth evil things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned (Matt 12:35-37).
It should not come as a surprise to us when we work with ungodly people living lives of sin and corruption, that out of their mouth will flow swearing, cursing, using the Lord’s name in vain, and shady or suggestive language. They are simply speaking out of the fountain they are feeding on every day.
I have worked in public works most of my life and have heard much ungodly and profane language. From that perspective, I am not ignorant of what many words mean. One of the burdens behind this article is to help all of us see the seriousness of using language that has been created to make a very offensive word seem less offensive. The world is not ashamed to talk about four-letter words. They know what they mean and yet far too often, “four-letter” words that are meant to take the place of the offensive word are a part of our people’s language. Words like “shoot” and “shucks” are not innocent.
Many words are a substitute for using the Lord's name in vain, yet sometimes they are heard coming out of the mouths of so-called Christian people. A common expression among us is the phrase "Oh my goodness." Urban dictionary says it's the phrase you say when you want to say "Oh my God," but your mother is standing beside you, and you know if you said, “Oh my God," you would be reproved; so you use “Oh my goodness” instead. You see, the world knows what these words mean, and more importantly, God knows.
I have pondered many times the question, "So is this person ignorant of the meaning of the word he just used, or is he speaking out of the abundance of his heart?” I have also pondered the question, Where is the right place to teach on these words? Is it right to preach over the pulpit what these words mean? It would seem like the best place would be at home, where Dads and Moms teach what these words mean, but the Dads are sometimes using them. We should all ask ourselves the question, “Are there any “four-letter” words in my language? What are the words that I use to express anger or surprise? When I use words to express my surprise and anger, do I know what they mean? Jesus' prayer was that we would not be taken out of this world but that we would be kept from the evil. We have a responsibility to keep ourselves from the evil words that flow freely in the world we live.
Another area of speech we need to think about is euphemisms, which is taking a good word that is part of the English language and corrupting it. An example of this would be the word “screwed” or the word “sucks.” It is good communication to say, “We screwed the first three lath on this roof because the engineer called for it." But it is wrong to say, “Be careful, or you are going to end up getting screwed on that deal." The word screwed in that context is by the dictionary defined as vulgar: an act of sexual intercourse. It is good communication to say, "I want an exhaust fan installed that sucks the smoke and fumes out of this shop." It is vulgar language to say that "This job sucks."
The Bible says: Every idle (useless) word that men shall speak they shall give account therefore in the day of judgement. The Bible says, But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. We are personally responsible for the words we use; we cannot claim innocence that we did not know what the word meant. I also marvel at how simply Jesus said it: Whatsoever is more than Yea, Yea; and Nay, nay cometh of evil. As soon as we start to add extra words, we quickly become part of words that have evil meanings.
Our speech can be used to bless people or hurt people. A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter (Pro 11:13). The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly (Pro 18:8).
God wants a people who are compassionate and confidential when someone shares problems that are close to their heart. We should all seek to have a reputation known for being confidential rather than a reputation for not being trustworthy. The one who is confidential will build good relationships, and the one who is known not to be trusted tears down relationships wherever they go. Proverbs says, It is a fool that uttereth all his mind but a wise man keepeth in till afterwards. I think we can all remember embarrassing times when we wished we would have kept our mouth shut. Learning to think before we talk comes with prayer and practice.
Proverbs 25:11 says, A word fitly spoke is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. For all the negative that can be shared about speech, there is so much more good we can do with our speech. With our speech, we teach and train children, teach Sunday School, preach messages, and inspire others to commit their lives to Jesus Christ. We encourage others to keep on keeping on even though they may be facing a difficult time in life. With our speech, we can help to meet the emotional needs of friends and family. We learn to know other people and find out what is going on in their life, and the list could go on.
Can a fountain send forth at the same place both sweet water and bitter? We know the answer. Let us remember: we will not have speech that glorifies God and blesses other people until we first surrender our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ and allow Him to change us from the inside out.