“…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph. 5:4)
My mom had the answer for improper language. She cleaned your mouth to remind you to clean your heart of such talking. Worked for me.
I spent 4 years in the Air Force, 19 in the Naval Reserves, 12 years teaching in a state prison and 79 years among the populace. Trust me, my mom would have run out of soap.
I am often surprised at the language of those who claim to be faithful saints. The same kind of talk I tried to run from in the military and prison. Whare are saints thinking when they tell off colored jokes (coarse jesting) and making silly talk (fun of others)? Paul is right and we know it. They simply aren’t fitting.
To avoid the immorality and impurity of verse 3 we have to watch our tongues. Not an easy task according to James. Maybe we need bridles like the horses, or maybe we just need my mom standing by with that orange soap that tasted like…see I almost did it.
We excuse our coarse language, our swearing, our use of expletives as being a part of the world we live in. We like to think it’s how everyone talks and we don’t want to be seen as prudes. I know what that’s like. In the AF I was referred to as “preacher” because I would not participate or listen to such talk. It caused people to change their language around me and it made me more cognizant of my own language.
The Christian is the light of the world… the leader on the trail. If we follow the pack we will be just like them. We must be different not only in action but in words. Our no and our yes should stand alone. No lies, no profanity, no slander, no doubletalk, no false witness. We must speak the truth and we must do so with lips that are clean and kept pure in God’s sight.
Giving thanks is an alternative alright. So are words of encouragement and talk that builds up and restores. We must use peacemaking words. Soft answers amid violent conversation. Our tongues should defuse not inflame.
James tells us that controlling the tongue is a difficult task. But it can be done. We have to clean the inside of immoral and impure words. It’s from inside that our words come out. We clean up our mouth by cleaning up our heart.
Task for today: Watch your mouth so no one is tempted to wash it. Use uplifting words, calming words and language that can be heard by small children. Gain control of your heart so that you can control your tongue.