Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 NLT
A mouth can reveal a lot about a person.
Four years have passed since my youngest brother and his family have come home for a visit. Not that they live that far away. Just a matter of family issues. But this year, they decided to make a visit after Christmas. We spent the afternoon talking and reminiscing and then visited a restaurant downtown for a meal together. It was wonderful having all the siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews together again.
Following our meal, we returned to our house to play a game called “Watch Your Mouth.” Participants pair up in teams, don a mouthpiece—which forms their mouths into ridiculous shapes, draw a card, try to read what’s on the card, and then have their partner attempt to interpret what they’ve said—which usually only sounds vaguely similar.
Why the game is named what it is, I’m not sure. Watching your teammate’s mouth doesn’t help at all. Perhaps it’s because the mouthpiece could cause the person to pronounce a word that sounds like a word they wouldn’t ordinarily use.
Whether or not my parents ever used the command, “Watch Your Mouth,” or not, I can’t remember, but I still got the message. Theirs was the same as Paul’s to the early church. Saying words I shouldn’t in their presence would get me a stint of restriction.
Foul and abusive language can fall into several categories and include cursing, off-color jokes, crude language, sexual innuendos, acronyms, or other questionable words. Using such language makes me no different from those who don’t claim to follow Christ. Talking as unbelievers do keeps my light for Christ from shining. Jesus hung around those whom He knew needed to follow Him, but He didn’t adopt their ungodly mannerisms in an attempt to win them over.
The world is filled with enough discouraging news without me filling it even more with language that tears down instead of elevates. My speech should be filled with good and helpful words that encourage and builds others up.
The tongue can be an unruly piece of meat, rolling out words that are better left unsaid, but with God’s help I can control what emits from it. What comes out reveals to others my character and whether or not I’m a person of integrity.
What portrait of you is your tongue painting for others?
Prayer: Father, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight.