Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The filthiest language of all

Some people reject the idea of dirty language in the first place. “Who has a right to declare some words dirtier than others,” they ask?

Just like we know we have rights because there are commands against violating those rights, so we know there is unclean language because we are instructed not to use it.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Corrupt words are either words that become corrupted or represent corruption. There are things that are clean and holy, and there are things that are—or become—unclean and profane. Words associated with the latter can become profanity.

The history of foul language is fluid as some words vary in social acceptability over time. Sometimes that history is contested.

What's not contested is that some people intentionally use these words because they are unacceptable and they want to make an emphatic point. Sometimes this happens so much that the words lose their punch and meaning, yet can still carry liability with others.

Either way, there are important considerations to raise with those who freely speak with whatever words fit their lack of restraint.

Every word matters. Jesus said, “I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). Judgment Day may take a long time.

Every word accumulates. If one has not trusted Jesus as their Savior, then literally every corrupt word is “treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).

To those who have been saved, who are no longer sons of disobedience, Paul wrote, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:8-9).

I do not think it any coincidence that Paul's first inspired thought after writing of filthy language is of lies. Lies are the filthiest, most corrupt words of all.

It is the age-old nature of man to speak lies, to cover up his evil wicked deeds. (The opposite of lying, by the way, is confession of one's wicked deeds.)

What is the answer?

To the Colossians, Paul continued, you “have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10).

The answer is the knowledge of God, the God who cannot lie. If we trust Him and get to know Him, then our desires for corruption fade away, and instead we seek to love Him.

Behold a holy God, and the man of unclean lips will instead seek to “tell this people” of the God who loves and forgives them.

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