Our world has a bad case of “potty mouth” (that’s right, I just attempted to use that phrase in a serious tone). If you turn on the radio, chances are the song you hear has more “beeps”, “bleeps” and “blanks” than actual words. If you walk through any hot spot downtown, there’s a good possibility that you’ll hear words that would make your dear old grandmother cringe. In fact, even a lot of so-called kids movies and TV shows use language that can, at times, be over the line. And, like so many other problems of our world, this problem is not unique to those outside the church. There are many within the church who are beginning to let the world influence the things that come out of their mouth.
In Ephesians 4:29 Paul wrote: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
The word “unwholesome” carries with it the idea of decay or something that is rotting. Not things we would want to come out of our mouth. Yet, many allow these things to become an everyday part of speech. And perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t use foul language and I never will.” And you may be right. That may be something you’ll never struggle with. However, are we limiting this passage to only mean those four-letter-words that would have gotten our mouths washed out with soap as a child? Paul not only tells us the kind of things NOT to say, but he goes on to explain what our speech SHOULD look like. The things we say should be “good for edification.” That rules out lying, inappropriate jokes, gossip, taking the Lord’s name in vain, cursing and the list could go on. So rather than focusing only on the things we shouldn’t say, we should strive to make sure that the things coming from our mouths are wholesome. Do the things we say seek to edify and build up those around us?
Someone once told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Instead, if we can’t find anything nice and wholesome to say, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the way we communicate rather than simply keeping our mouth closed.