29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:29–30, NKJV).
Profanity is pervasive in our society. From public school classrooms to sports fields, the movies, television, music, the printed media, and the internet, vulgar language permeates the landscape. Offensive, suggestive words lure the innocent into dishonorable attitudes and actions. Today’s passage is a clear command not to use rotten, worthless words (v. 29). The Holy Spirit further elaborates with examples of corrupt speech in Ephesians 5:4: “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting….” The remedy, of course, is a renewed heart. Profanity reveals a heart spoiled by evil (Matt. 12:34-37). The Holy Spirit has revealed a gospel that revives the heart that accepts God’s truth (Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:16). Beware, fellow Christians! The influence of the world’s profanity can corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). The Spirit of God, whose truth attests we are children of God, is grieved (distressed, saddened with heaviness) when Christians use corrupt, vile language (Eph. 4:30; 1:13-14; Rom. 8:16). Let us review and refocus our words to promote goodness and grace that strengthen those who hear us (Eph. 4:29; Col. 4:6). The fruit of our lips should give praise and thanks to God instead of dishonoring God and ourselves with profanity (Eph. 5:4; Heb. 13:15). God assures the day of redemption to those who live in holiness instead of sin’s defilement (Eph. 4:30; 2 Pet. 1:5-11).
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21, NKJV)
The tongue is very powerful. With it we can bless God and curse men – almost at the same time (although it ought not be so, Jas. 3:9-10). Solomon assures us we will reap what we sow concerning the words we speak. Since this is true of the spoken word, it is also true of the words we speak online. Posting on websites and social media gives us no license to be rude, crude, unkind, profane and hurtful to others. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are too frequently launching pads for hateful assaults, bitter criticisms, and malicious attacks. Words can cut deeper than a knife, often maiming or killing a person’s good reputation, a friendship, a marriage, or even a life. So, be careful what you post on social media. Our words reveals our hearts, and God is the great heart-knower to whom we all are accountable (Matt. 12:34-35; Acts 1:24; Heb. 4:13). Monitor your words online – what you post will be there for a very long time. Will your words bear the fruit of death or life?
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29, NKJV)
Acceptable profanity has reached an appalling level in America. Profane language is common place in the home and on the job. It is used in classrooms (from teachers as well as students), on social media, in popular music, movies, television and the internet. Just about everywhere someone is talking, profanity is given a place. Profanity adds nothing constructive to a conversation. Indeed, it distracts from it. Profane speech does not enhance clearer, more concise communication. It is spoken casually and mindlessly, as filler without context and without character. It is profoundly meaningless, useless and rotten (“corrupt”). Profanity does it “impart grace” to those who hear it, nor does it bring honor to the person who uses it. It disrespects God and shows contempt for others. Its companions are often anger and wrath (Eph. 4:31). Let us remember that our words show what is in our hearts. Jesus said that. And, He said our words will either justify or condemn us in the last day of judgment (Matt. 12:33-37). We must take great care to control our hearts, to control our tongues and avoid corrupt words.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:3–5, NKJV)
Continuing to warn against immorality, the apostle comes to “filthiness” in verse 4, which is indecency or nastiness. It particularly identifies communication that is obscene and shameful. That would certainly describe many (if not most) of the entertainment today, but it certainly is not limited to those venues. “Foolish talking” is silly buffoonery, stupid nonsense. Our words reveal our hearts. Therefore, our words should be kind and graced with thankfulness, not laced with vapid blather. “Coarse jesting” is crude jokes, rude and profane repartee, vulgar speech. The double entendre, that is designed to titillate with sexual innuendo, has no business coming from the lips of the righteous. There is no misunderstanding the apostle; fornicators, the immoral, the covetous and idolaters will not inherit heaven. Christ can save you from these sins, but, if you continue to commit them, you will not inherit heaven. Do not rationalize and remain in these sins; repent and renounce them all.
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23, NKJV)
Our words are the expressions of our soul. The deepest recesses of the heart are exposed by the words of our mouth. Truly, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). For example, guard your mouth against speaking corrupt words. There is no place in the Christian’s life for profanity, for it exposes a profane heart. Guard your mouth against speaking lies. Half-truths, misdirection and other forms of deception are not a trait of the pure in heart. “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” defines the followers of Jesus (Eph. 4:25). Guard your mouth against angry words. These flow out of a heart that is bitter, resentful and unforgiving. Guard your mouth against speaking false doctrine. The Spirit of truth has spoken truth to us through Christ’s apostles (Jno. 16:13). Therefore, speak “as the oracles of God,” not with the wisdom and will of men (1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 2:8). By cleansing your heart of profanity, deceit, anger and error, your soul will be protected from trouble. That’s what repentance is; changing your heart. Rather than opening wide your mouth to pour out evil things, guard your soul from the troublesome results of an uncontrolled tongue. May we recall and live what the children sing, “Be careful little mouths what you say.”