We tend to focus on a list of words that are “bad,” but what if God intends to have control of our hearts and direct every word that comes out of our mouth? We can stay away from certain forbidden words and still have a dirty mouth. Some families forbid “darns” and “butts” while some let the tongue fly a little more loosely. Then there are THE “bad words,” the ones that make the movie ratings jump.
It doesn't matter how many times we substitute "shoot" or "shucks" for other choices, we have a dirty mouth if these characteristics are present in our language:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Who really decides what constitutes a “bad word?”
Family, culture, or business can’t set the tone for our tongue. The Bible presents us with a clear and simple filter: Is the word spoken from our mouths building someone up or tearing them down?
Is what we are saying making a difference in the situation or are we just saying it because we desire to speak our mind? Jesus says, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63).
If we are following Jesus, then our words should also be full of “the Spirit and life” because God’s Spirit lives in us. This is not easy. Sometimes we find our words are where we look least like Jesus. James 3:8 says, “No human being can tame the tongue.” We have God’s Spirit. “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
Do you have a dirty mouth? Pray for God to show you, and ask yourself these questions:
- Are my words and my conversations pleasing to God?
- Do I find myself being critical of others or encouraging others?
- Are my words giving life or dealing death blows?
If you find you have a problem with dirty words then the better question would be, “God, what is in my heart that is causing wrong words to come out of my mouth?" (Matthew 15:18). Ask God to change your heart, follow his lead, and your words will begin to change too.