Have you spent any time considering how many words you speak in a day?
What did you say?
What was really important about what you said?
In other words, words matter. More importantly how we speak matters.
The vast majority of the populace will give very little thought to what they say on a daily basis. Those in the Evangelical Christian world will probably give more thought, but today I want to focus on a subset of those that desire some serious reformation in the way we use our language.
I’m hopeful those that will read and really consider this will believe they are Christians. Not just a person that attends a weekly church service, but someone that lives a true life of discipleship and desires to be obedient to the demands of scripture.
Am I an expert in the English language and have a mastery of my words? Far from it, but I have a desire to change, I’m hopeful you will as well.
Let’s begin by throwing out the obvious. I will probably do another article on this someday. Christians should NOT use course language of any sort (Ephesians 4:29, 5:4, Colossians 3:8 and many others). If you are accustomed to this and you call yourself a Believer you need to examine your claims to Christianity.
Jesus was very clear when He said “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” In other words you are what you speak (Matthew 15:18-20).
Christians should not use foul language of any sort or foolish joking. Our call is for holiness not for foolishness.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment. And cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
Do you want to be respected for wisdom and to be honored? Then stop trying to be funny.
Today let’s focus on “cultural” words; the words that creep into culture and are adopted into the everyday language. This can be commonly referred to as slang or in another generation “jive talk” (I have to laugh writing this as I’m sure my kids will make fun of me), but you know what I’m talking about if you grew up in the 70’s.
Here is a selection of some of these terms that Believer’s should stop using.
Unless you are using it properly, this is an awful phrase to utilize and it really dumbs down your ability to communicate your message properly.
This is a clear violation of the 3rd Commandment. Even though some will try and pass it off as “gosh” it’s still a reference to God and His name. Please stop it.
“You know what I’m sayin’…”
Need I say anything else? This is filler and is common in ghetto style talk. It will not make you look cool and will definitely make you appear less intelligent.
If you have something to say to somebody and you stand behind your words, don’t hide behind this phrase. Allow your “yes” to be yes and your “no” to be no. If you need to confront sin in someone do so in a Biblical manner. See Matthew chapter 18.
“Don’t judge me…”
This is another modern phrase that the youth of America enjoy. In other words “please excuse me from any responsibility”. I have no authority to judge you other than by the Word of God, but if that is judging you then you need to discuss it with Him.
This is my number one and we could also throw in “ahh” as a similar type word. We’ve began working with our children and ourselves to eliminate “umm” from our vocabulary. Again, this is filler. I’m trying to fill in time or make a transition to my next thought.
I think “umm” is devastating to the person who really desires to think before they speak. We want to be heard and in an effort to be heard we speak quickly and don’t take the time to formulate our ideas.
Therefore our mouth spews out things we haven’t thought through thoroughly (say that quickly three times). This is one of the things I really enjoy about writing. I have an opportunity to “think” and then put my words on paper. If I can transfer this over to the way I communicate in person it will really be beneficial to me as a communicator.
I could spend a more time going through other words that I think God finds offensive and makes the Believer less credible in their message but I’m hopeful I’ve made my point. So why should we be concerned about this? I see a couple quick reasons.
The number one reason is to be a better ambassador and witness for Jesus Christ. The Lord was very purposeful in His use of language. He spoke with clarity and authority. The result was few words but very powerful and direct words. Imitate me as I imitate Christ says the Apostle Paul.
Secondly, we need to constantly be reforming. If we are truly to live Romans 12:2 then this should be an area to bring under control. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless… James 1:26
Today I urge you to be mindful and purposeful in your spoken words.