Potty mouth. Sexual innuendo. Cussing. Cursing. Smack talk. Smut. Swearing. OMG…Taking the Lord’s Name in vain!!! We have become desensitized to vulgarity.
“PG” ratings now use “R” language. What has happened to us? When did Christians tolerate such unclean language? Perhaps you don’t say those forbidden words…maybe you don’t say them in front of your children. But do you recoil when you hear them in the office, on your television or in the movie theater? Probably not.
WE CAN HAVE A BLESSED OR CURSED LIFE DEPENDING ON WHAT WE SAY.
TAKING GOD’S NAME IN VAIN
Your words can change you. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Exodus 20:7 NKJV. What does it mean to “take the Lord’s name in vain?” Any use of God’s Name devalues His character and holiness. The Jews never even spoke the name of YHWH. Oh yeah-and God ALSO says that He will surely punish us for using His name irreverently. It’s hard to obey a God you don’t respect. When you devalue Him, you will take His commands casually and flippantly disobey Him. Serious stuff.
I first noticed how pervasive the use of God’s name was when I watched a television show on HGTV. Innocuous show, one would think…..The designer transformed the ratty room of a client and then brought the fortunate family in for the “reveal.” To my shock and chagrin, EVERY person who viewed the transformation said the same three words. “Oh, my God!”
Come on, people! God has better things to do: creating universes, writing history, transforming lives. I don’t think He spends a lot of time hanging wallpaper. Is our vocabulary so limited? Are our pea brains so small that we no longer have descriptors other than “Oh, my God?” Is He your God? If He is, then that statement is the most powerful declaration you can make. You are His and He is yours. Say it every day! All of the time! But say it because you love and worship the One who gave His only Son to die for your sins.
Jesus warned about swearing in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:33-37 reads:
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” RSV
Jesus included these verses in His most significant sermon. He said, “Don’t make empty promises you don’t intend to keep. Do what you promised God you would do.” The Message translation describes this passage in a very relevant way:
“Don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it.” You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’”
Here comes the kicker. Verse 37.
37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” RSV
Swearing comes from the Devil. He is the father of lies, the prince of darkness. We trivialize our empty promises, assuming there will be no repercussions for our insincere words. But guess what? We have just given Satan a foothold in our lives.
Roger, my husband, relates this story about profanity. The Barrier family reunion was in full swing. Aunts, uncles and cousins scarfed boatloads of chicken casserole, sweet tea and strawberry shortcake. In the midst of the revelry, five-year-old Roger skipped into the kitchen yellng f**k, f**k, f**k at the top of his little lungs. He was simply repeating the words of Sam, his oldest cousin. Rog’s Mom Helen was appalled. She grabbed him by the arm, marched him to the bathroom and made him wash his mouth with Ivory soap until he puked. Her punishment was rather extreme, but Roger never said that word again. Today, most parents giggle and give their kids a glib warning if they use unclean words.
Why should we clean up our speech? Because unclean words come from a smutty heart. We become crass, filthy people. Our light to the world is extinguished and no one sees Jesus in us.
“Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand! 11 It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean.” Matthew 15:10 NIV
Jesus also says that our unclean words lead us into depravity and sin. Our Christian purity is flushed down the toilet.
16 “Jesus said to them, “You are still no more intelligent than the others. 17 Don't you understand? Anything that goes into your mouth goes into your stomach and then on out of your body. 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that make you ritually unclean. 19 For from your heart come the evil ideas which lead you to kill, commit adultery, and do other immoral things; to rob, lie, and slander others. 20 These are the things that make you unclean.” GNT
James sums up the power of unclean speech in James 3:5-10.
“A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. 6 The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. 7 People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. 8 Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison.
9 With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. 10 Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!” GWT
Notice the words I have emphasized in bold letters. Unclean words contaminate us and come straight from the pit of hell.
SO HOW DO YOU CLEAN UP YOUR MOUTH?
Confess your sins. All of them. Every evil word that God brings to your mind. (1 John 1:9). God not only forgives you, he helps you clean up your act.
Stop talking. Let your words be few. That’s how you tame a horse. Bridle your mouth and give the reins to the Holy Spirit.
Read the Bible often. God’s Words are like Ivory soap. They purify your heart and uplift your thoughts.
Filter the filth input in your life. Practice saying and thinking positive things. Follow Paul’s advice, and you will experience peace and blessing.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
Start today and watch God bless your life!