“Watch your mouth!” I’m sure most of us have heard or used this phrase at some point in our lives. When you tell someone to watch his mouth, it means that the person should be careful about what comes out of it, the things that he or she says. This is especially true when what has been coming out of that person’s mouth is either disrespectful, foul, or abusive language. Unfortunately, that kind of language is prevalent in today’s society.
A poll taken in 2006 found that not only did most people say that they frequently encounter profanity, but a large majority also felt that more people use profane language now than they did 20 years ago. Language that is disrespectful, foul, and abusive is found in movies, on television, in books, and in music. It is nearly impossible to avoid hearing this kind of language in our daily lives. But, as believers, we are to avoid such language.
God’s Word addresses the words that come out of our mouths. In his letters to the various churches, Paul addressed the subject of the language we use several times. He warned that unwholesome language, language that is disrespectful, foul, or abusive should not come out of their mouths (Ephesians 4:29). He also warned against filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking (Ephesians 5:4). Our words should not reflect anger, wrath, slander, or obscenities (Colossians 3:8). The words that we use are a reflection of our heart (Matthew 12:34).
The words that come from our mouths should be words that are full of grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). The things that we say to others should be made of words that are meant to build others up, words that are beneficial to the spiritual lives of others, as well as our own. We should strive to speak to others in such a way that we give them encouragement. Our words should be a blessing to them and should reflect God’s grace (Ephesians 4:29).
As believers, we need to be an example to the world. Jesus told us that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16) and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). We are ambassadors of Christ and our lives should reflect Him (2 Corinthians 5:20). The way that we live our lives and the words that we speak should reflect the kingdom of God and not the world. In our words, just as in our deeds, we are to be “in” the world, but not “of” it.