Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Guard the tongue

Okay, Adrian, you did it! Actually, he got me to thinking, when I ran across this post. I quickly let my fingers do the walking over to Challies dot com to see what the fuss was about. I quickly found out it was about inappropriateness of certain speech. Phil at Pyromaniacs had some great thoughts on this kind of talk. Also, Carla at Emergent No has taken her share of beating on her thoughts as well. But, what really got my attention was this from Centuri0n:

There is a vast difference between "There are flaws in some of the finest diamonds in the world, and yet they do not prevent their being rated at a priceless value" and refusing to reform one's tongue.

The above quote came from J.C. Ryle’s book, Holiness, which was used in Happy Mills post. I tend to agree with the Centuri0n. Centuri0n also had some great comments on the subject over at Pyromaniacs.

Matthew 12:34 tells us that ‘out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh’. What goes in must come out. If you are constantly saying swear or curse words, you are feeding it into your mind over and over. Then, when something comes up, those words come out, when a more appropriate and inoffensive word could have been used.

As Christians, are supposed to be separated from sin, and dedicated to God. We don’t need to take on the secular speech in order to impress people, or ‘get down and dirty’ because the sinner acts that way. What is this telling the world? Are we any better than the mere sinner, when we take on worldy ways? The Bible tells us to ‘sin not’..... put away all uncleanliness.

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

I believe God expects us to clean up our act after we are saved. We can kid ourselves into thinking all is well – it’s fine to say a curse word whenever we feel like it – but I don’t think that holds water with God. I believe we can do it long enough that our conscience is seared, and it no longer makes us feel bad when we repeat that kind of talk. Habits are hard to break, unless you give God control over your life. And, once your conscience is no longer bothered when you let those words ‘slip’, then something is wrong with the picture.


Carol said...

"And, once your conscience is no longer bothered when you let those words ‘slip’, then something is wrong with the picture."


Barb, there is a question about Christians who exibit habitual sin. Is one a Christian if they refuse Christ His rightful seat on the throne of their heart? Can one be a Christian, still in charge of one's own life and not allowing Christ to take over?

So, this issue is speech. What about addictions? To food? To television? To anything else that actually becomes an idol in that it is placed in a higher importance than God?

What about poor stewardship? Poor self-control/fits of rage? What about selfishness? Or gossip?

See, I don't think speech is the problem. I think it's deeper than that. I think the real issue is the heart. Proverbs 27:19 - "As water reflects a face,so a man's heart reflects the man." Actually, the book of Proverbs repeatedly talks about the heart and its impact on our behavior.

Maybe the heart is what's wrong with the picture?

Gina Burgess said...

I agree with Carol... it's a matter of the heart, not the mouth. Jesus said the Pharisees were like whitewashed tombs. Some Christians today are just like that.

Barbara said...

My answer: I don't believe you can be an habitual sinner and serve God. He says we are 'new creatures' when we are saved, and I believe he empowers you with the ability to clean up your life.

Speech was chosen because of the article I read. But, you are right; a heart has to be changed. Most of the things we do, we do against our own body - the temple of the Holy Spirit. But, when it comes out of the heart, through the mouth, then it is effecting others.

We've always heard the quote 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words won't hurt me'. I disagree! Words mean something, whether they are bad or good. When need to be careful what we say, and how we say it. To just string words out there, even those that are not curse words, can hurt people, when they are said without disregard of the consequence.

Carol said...

Good points! What about folks with "clean" speech, but dirty hearts? Or no love of the Lord? They may be "white washed" on the outside, but ... We have to hold non-believers to different standards, of course.

Barbara said...

You pray for those kind of people, Carol. :) I've seen many who are decent, moral people; they just don't serve God. They see 'christians' that they feel are worse than them, so what the use?