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Salty Speech

January 12, 2011

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” – Colossians 4:5-6

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

There are just some things that Christians shouldn’t be saying. It bugs me when I hear a Christian defend their use of swear words by saying, “well Jesus called people a ‘brood of viper’ and ‘white-washed tombs’ that’s pretty harsh language!” First, logically, there is absolutely no comparison to be made between Jesus calling the Pharisees “white-washed tombs” and Joe Christian getting annoyed and saying “what the hell?!” For one thing, hell is real, and to turn the seriousness and severity of it into a trite swear word is, in my opinion, misguided. The same thing goes for the ever-popular “damn it!” To damn is to condemn to eternal punishment. So how is it a good use of a that word to use it when you’re surprised or angered?

I could go on, but my point is this: God calls His children to have lips that speak wholesome and grace-filled words. Do they? Do mine? Do yours?

 Having said all that, the goal of God’s commands concerning speech is definitely about the heart, and not so much about the vocabulary (though there are some words that I don’t think Christians should ever use, as I mentioned). “We all break the command to wholesome communciation in some way every day even though we don’t use ‘bad’ language” (Paul Tripp). Here’s a super good video that has a great point.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Vickie permalink
    January 19, 2011 4:20 am

    I don’t think Tripp needed to repeat the word s**t over so many times himself. His kids got a charge out of it, or else they would not each have repeated it, especially in front of their father. He got a charge out of his kids saying it, or else he wouldn’t have laughed hysterically. We all know what it is. It’s a harsh sounding word, as are many of the words we shouldn’t use as Christians. Why do Christians feel the need to be “shocking” these days? I am not sure I get it. His point is well taken, but I don’t feel he needs to make a video and use a word over and over in order for people to get it.

  2. January 19, 2011 10:12 pm

    I think his point is that it’s not about a set of words so much as it is the intention of the heart and the impact on the hearer. Though crass, the s-word is not inherently wrong, or sinful. It’s how/when it is used that can become the issue. I don’t think his point was to be shocking, but to help people understand that the heart is the issue, I can say “you’re so right” in a way that is biting and ungraceful, in the same way I can use the s-word.

    I don’t know if that helped at all, if not I apologize 🙂

    • Vickie permalink
      January 21, 2011 7:15 am

      When can the word s**t ever minister grace to the hearer? I think Tripp’s use of it is ridiculous. He didn’t need to keep repeating a word, which historically has one prescribed meaning, to make it sound like there would ever be some time where it might be a good word to use. “Oh, I left my s**t in my seat in the sanctuary!” If I said that, it would not be w/ malice in my intent, but would it be proper? Polite? NO! It would be denigrating, b/c my Bible no doubt could have been one of the things I could have left in the sanctuary. Of course, I am concocting a situation which would not happen, but I am trying to use Tripp’s logic. So, it is NOT just intent, when we use certain words. It is also the use of the word itself, b/c of what it means.

      I totally understand that what comes out of our mouths is because of what is in our hearts. No problem getting that. But, I grew up in a house where swearing was par for the course. I hate it. I think it’s coarse. I think so many Christians nowadays are trying to excuse things that used to be considered distasteful or sinful. Do I never think of a cuss word? Sure I do. I try to never let those words proceed from my lips, however. I would not want to ruin my testimony, which once tarnished, is hard to regain. The Lord already knows what sin lies in me.

      Anyway, I’m not yelling at you, Adam. 🙂 I think your blog is really good and thought-provoking. I am just sick of all of the things the people of God are trying to accept as good and right and ok, while the gospel gets more and more watered down and the Church becomes more and more indistinguishable from the world. We need to constantly guard our hearts, for sure. But, I think we still need to guard our mouths, even if a word is only a word with no mal intent. However, can you think of a situation where using the word s**t would be in good standing? 🙂

      • vickie permalink
        January 21, 2011 2:29 pm

        I also wondered, Adam, what the people in the restaurant where the Tripps were enjoying cake and conversation, would have thought to probably see them pray before their dessert, then hear them use the word s**t over and over and laugh hysterically. Really.

  3. January 23, 2011 9:26 pm

    Good points, I agree. And I think your last point is huge too, when people know you are a Christian cussing can definitely throw your testimony into question, I know that’s true for myself at work as well. Thanks for commenting!

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