Bridle Your Tongue
“OUT of the abundance of the heart,” Jesus said, “the mouth speaks.” Does what comes out of your mouth show that you have a clean heart? Or are the good things that come out of it sometimes contaminated with filth? Profanity, dirty language and obscene jokes are common today, and their bad example contaminates the hearts and mouths of many persons.—Matt. 12:34, NW.
Yet, the Christian can in no way go along with this trend. Paul wrote: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every kind or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people, neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks. For you know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.”—Eph. 5:3-5, NW.
Your mind captains your ship, directing your course; why becloud its judgment with filth that subtly suggests that you might as well do what the words say, rationalizing the obscene actions that the filthy words and stories describe? The repetition of such stories will wear away your indignation, implying that such immoral actions are common, that other people do these things, talk about them, listen to them, so you might as well follow their example.
Some men laugh at dirty jokes and resort to profanity because of the pressure to be accepted as a “regular fellow” by those who consider these things a sign of real manliness. But the real man is the one who has the strength to resist it, refusing to stoop to obscene jests. Profanity often is a blustering to be “tough” on the part of someone who does not know enough to be right. Certainly you do not want to be in that class; so tighten up your determination to be a man about it. Dirty speech does not make a real man, but a moral determination to do right does!
Bad habits are easy to form, hard to break. But with courage they can be broken: “But now really put them all away from you, wrath, anger, injuriousness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality which through accurate knowledge is being renewed according to the image of the one who created it.” (Col. 3:8-10, NW) The Scriptures are not halfhearted on this matter, but positive and definite. Loose use of your tongue can cancel out all the good that you do, for, “if any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s form of worship is futile.”—Jas. 1:26, NW.
Dirty language is unseemly, unbecoming and inexcusable on the part of a Christian. It can be the symptom of a dirty mind. It can lead to filthy actions. But he will realize that right speech used in the right way can lead in the right direction. What kind of heart will you have? What words will mirror it? What kind of speech will you continue to use? For a Christian there can be only one answer to those questions. Will that right answer be yours?