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June 26, 2017 / Pastor George Fike

do you kiss your momma with that mouth?

My dad would say, “Aw, foot!” or “Well, shoot!” My pejoratives of choice are “Well, crap!” or “Dangit!” Every now and then “Dadgummit!” I learned to swear watching Jed Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies.

We all say empty things from time to time. Well, truthfully, sometimes the words are not empty: they intend to insult, hurt, or defame another.  But I’m really addressing those words that have become part of our everyday vernacular that we would never have uttered even 10 years ago. When did we, as God’s people, dumb down His holiness?

At the 2003 Grammy Awards, Bono won best song from a movie for “The Hands That Built America” from Gangs of New York. As he took to the microphone for his thank-you speech, he uttered “This is really, really, f-ing brilliant!” As Bono is a Christian, it marked a departure from a standard of speech that we were accustomed to.  Many were offended. But many of us were confused. Dropping f-bombs has never been condemned as the unforgivable sin, but it didn’t seem appropriate.  Perhaps it’s because holiness of speech is the subject of a great many Bible passages:

Matthew 15:10-11, 17-19a Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…”

Matthew 12:35-37A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

James 3:6-10 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Sometimes we use less than savory words to emphasize a depth of feeling.  But the words we use have literal meanings that usually pertain to base activity, body parts, bodily wastes, or sexual activity. Why would we use them to emphasize our good feelings? But they have become automatic, a sign that we live in a base culture.

Isaiah 6:5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

I suppose some would argue their use of foul language testifies as to their real-ness in front of their lost friends.  I say it diminishes the “real-ness” of their life-changing Lord in front of their lost friends.

I memorized a verse a long time ago that I think should be the aspiration of every believer.  It is a summary of God’s blessing on Samuel’s mouth from the time of his childhood.

1 Samuel 3:19The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.

This is my longing.  That my speech would be effective for the Lord.

James 3 follows up the admonition about the tongue in the following passage about wisdom:

James 3:13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

What comes out of our mouths is the seed we sow.  What are you planting by the words you use?


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