As a Christian, we want to strive for spiritual excellence in all things. The Scriptures tell us that we are walking epistles and are judged by our actions and our words. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2 “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. “
By demeaning ourselves through inappropriate language, we lower the high Christian standard that our Lord Jesus set for us. As Christians, we desire to walk in our Master’s path. We try to emulate his example as we go forth into the world, bearing witness to the truth, by our words and our lives. We are supposed to be “ambassadors for Christ,” according to 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. That means we are his representatives and would never intentionally do anything that offends, misrepresents or brings shame, suspicion or contradiction upon the “home country” we are representing. We are to honor God and His son Jesus with our lips.
There are MANY scriptures that talk about our words. Here is just a quick sampling:
Ephesians 4:29: (New Living Translation)
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Negative or offensive talk should not come out of our mouths, including anything demeaning or hurtful.
Luke 6:45: (New Living Translation) A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Colossians 3:8: But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
The book of James is especially hard hitting.
“Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their whole body as well. Look at the ships too: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are nevertheless directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot determines. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among [d]our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by gehenna. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
But no one among mankind can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.
My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. Does a spring send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, bear olives, or a vine bear figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”
Ephesians 4:29: 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.
We should be careful so as not to stumble those around us:
1 Corinthians 10:23,24: I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:31,32: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.
People use inappropriate language for a variety of reasons, such as wanting attention, for shock value, to feel in control, they are bitter/angry/resentful and do not know how to appropriately deal with their feelings, or to cover up an insecurity by appearing more powerful or strong. For some, they are so used to the language either in the household they grew up, with their friends or family, in the tv they watch and the music they listen to, that it becomes second nature and they aren’t thinking before they speak as to how it sounds – it becomes a habit and pattern of talking.
If others are using offensive language, it might be worth asking what their motivation is and then explain how it is offensive to you, likely to many around them and certainly to our heavenly Father. As Christians we agree to sacrifice in our wanting to “come up higher” to be pleasing to God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
To learn more about how to be better followers of Jesus listen to, “Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?”