RPM, Volume 15, Number 46, November 10 to November 16, 2013

Christians and Bad Language

By John McWilliams

I could be wrong, and I've done nothing to scientifically research what I'm about to say. Yet, based on what I hear and see every day, I'm quite sure that more Christians these days, including pastors, seem to be alright with using various types of bad language in their conversations when they feel like it.

The last time I checked, Scripture still maintained that the use of bad language was sinful and something we Christians should avoid doing.

Now in case someone feels I'm being too judgmental or legalistic, let me share something about myself. I used to use bad language as much or more than most people and I used the worst words around. In fact, cleaning up my language was something I resisted doing for quite some time even after a becoming a Christian. Yet once I took the time to study Scripture on this subject, I was both convinced and convicted that using bad language was wrong for various reasons and I should stop it. I'm grateful The Holy Spirit has given me the ability to do so and I'll share how that happened later in the article.

Yet first it's important to be clear about what Scripture says about bad language and how it defines it. What The Bible says about bad language includes a variety of different types of language which Scripture specifically mentions and which I'll address in this article. So let's get started.

For those whose first language is English, we kind of group all bad language under the broad title of profanity. However, Scripture is more specific than that. Scripture takes the time to specify different types of bad language and uses different Greek words to define and deal with each type. Scripture does speak of profane language which interestingly enough may or may not include swear words. Perhaps you were never aware of the fact that you can take part in profanity without using any swear words at all, but as you'll see it is possible. Then there is also what The Bible calls evil or unwholesome talk, followed by a different and third category called foul or obscene language.

As I said, it seems more and more Christians are using bad language these days. There are even Christians who claim that under certain circumstances, using bad or even obscene language may be exactly what God would like us to do to be able to more effectively witness to certain people. They make the claim that whether using bad language is sinful or not depends on the circumstances and what those hearing it perceive bad language to be. We'll look at those claims a little bit later in the article.

There are certainly numerous opinions out there about what bad language is or isn't and when it may or may not be used. However, for Christians, the yardstick by which we should be measuring our behavior is Scripture. So let's see what The Bible actually does say about these various types of bad language.

Let's start with the issue of profanity. In II Timothy 2:16 we read these words. "Keep away from profane and foolish discussions, which only drive people farther away from God." Good News Bible.

If you look up the word profane in English you get something like the definition from Dictionary.com where the primary definition for the word profane is the following: "characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; . . ."

Profane does have a secondary meaning which is hardly ever used in The U.S. This secondary definition for profane simply differentiates between religious and secular things such as art and music. The Longman Dictionary for Contemporary English gives this secondary definition as "related to ordinary life, not religion or holy things." However as we'll see, this is not the meaning of the Greek word used in II Timothy 2:16.

The Greek word used in II Timothy 2:16 which is translated in English Bibles as "profane" is the word ßeß?????, pronounced bebelous, which is a word made up of two different root words. The first root word is ßa???, pronounced baino which means "go, step or move on foot." The second root word is ß????, pronounced belos, which means "threshold." So literally the word ßeß????? means to go, walk or step across a threshold. In the context of Scripture this word means to step over a threshold or to cross a line into using language which shows irreverence or contempt for God, hence becoming profane.

This could include swear words such as the "Gd" curse, but it could also just be normal language which disrespects or shows irreverence for God. So as I said previously, one could be involved in profanity without using any swear words at all. One could be using perfectly good English words in a way intended to show irreverence or contempt for God and would thereby Biblically qualify as having crossed the threshold into a profane discussion. Timothy tells us to stay away from such discussions as they only tend to lead people further away from God rather than closer to Him. If you are interested you can go to http://biblesuite.com/greek/952.htm for a more in-depth look at the Greek.

When we speak of profanity in English, we usually expand our definition of profane to include any words our culture deems to be swear words. However according to II Timothy one could make the case that a swear word may be a swear word and may even be obscene, but unless it directly shows disrespect or irreverence for God, it isn't profane. Others would counter and say that by their very nature, all swear and obscene words show irreverence and contempt for God and His ways and thereby also qualify as profane.

Whatever the case, The Bible does differentiate between different kinds of bad language. So if we are going to be faithful to what Scripture teaches, we have to take those differences into account and their context in the original languages. As we've already seen, II Timothy speaks about profane words and discussions. Yet in other places we see speech which is called evil, unwholesome and obscene and the Greek words used are different words than those used in II Timothy to define profane.

In Ephesians 4:29 we read, "Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." R. S. V.

The Greek word which gets translated in English as "evil" is the word sap???, pronounced sarpos, which means "evil, bad or unwholesome." Although technically, "evil, bad or unwholesome" language could be used to show contempt and irreverence for God and therefore could also be considered profane, what is clearly being talked about here are words we speak not to or about God, but to and about each other. We are told that in addressing each other that it's wrong to use "evil, bad or unwholesome" language. Instead we're told to choose language that acts to build people up rather than tear them down.

So in this case the language being talked about certainly covers swear words and obscenities, but could also include regular English words if used in a bad or evil way to sinfully disgrace or put someone down. Most of us are aware of the fact that words can be weapons used to tear people down and God clearly forbids doing that kind of damage to others. Doing so would clearly fall under the category of disobeying God and therefore sinning against Him and others by using such language.

As we move on to Colossians 3:8 we see still another Greek word pertaining to bad language. There we read, "But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth." R. S. V.

The Greek word that gets translated as "foul talk" is the word a?s???????a, pronounced aischrología, which means foul, obscene, vile and filthy words. This would include all obscene words which convey filthy images and are disrespectful of people and or God. Included in this category would be the worst and most vile of swear words. We're told that this language is so bad it should never cross our lips.

So to sum up, we can see that Biblically speaking, profanity is any language, swear words or not, that shows contempt and irreverence for God. Taking His Name in vain would certainly be considered profanity. In addition, bad, evil, unwholesome and obscene words are also listed as words God commands us to refrain from using.

It's important to note that God didn't say to refrain from using bad language except in cases where we deem it's alright to do so. Therefore I would conclude that according to Scripture, using words which show irreverence or contempt for God, or words that are deemed as bad, evil, unwholesome or obscene in ones' society is always a sinful thing to do. Included in that list would of course be the words that a society has deemed to be its swear words.

However, as I said previously, there are Christians who disagree with that conclusion. Even though they would agree that the use of bad language is normally not a good thing for Christians to engage in, they would argue there are occasions where the use of swear words and even obscenities within ones' culture, would be appropriate and actually would be God's will in a given circumstance and doing so would bring Him glory. That may sound strange to some, but let me give you an example.

Some would say that if you are witnessing to a sub-cultural group in our society which uses the f-bomb as a normal part of their speech, it's alright for a Christian who is trying to gain their trust and respect to also use the f-bomb to better fit in with and relate to them. These Christians say that words are just words and therefore if a particular group doesn't perceive a word to be an obscene word, then for them it isn't and for Christians to use it among them to better fit in with them so they can witness to them isn't sinful. In fact it's a good thing.

What's being said here is that it's alright for a Christian to use language which his in his or her overall society is deemed foul or obscene to reach those in the society who don't consider such language sinful.

Yet if this argument is valid, one has to ask how far it goes. Where does it stop? Would those same Christians also argue that it would be alright for Christians to lie to better relate to those who view lying as acceptable behavior? Would stealing be alright to gain the trust of thieves? Should Christian missionaries in Muslim countries take more than one wife to better fit in with and relate to that culture? I'm assuming that the answer to the previous 3 questions is no.

So if the answer is no to those sinful behaviors, it seems a little spiritually schizophrenic to arbitrarily single out another sinful behavior such as bad language and declare that sometimes it isn't sinful at all. These are New Testament Passages. They aren't Old Testament dietary laws that were superseded in the New Testament. They are clear instructions for Christian behavior in all situations and as you'll see below, there is absolutely nothing in the text to indicate that these instructions are based on circumstantial situations where we get to determine whether we should obey or disobey them.

I realize that if we are going to reach out to non-Christians we have to go into their world and effectively witness to them. Yet, Scripture teaches us we are supposed to be in the world but not of it. Taking part for instance, in anti-social behavior to reach anti-social people, isn't a sound evangelical tactic and isn't something one finds a basis for in Scripture. If God says something is wrong it's wrong for a reason and it doesn't stop being wrong simply because someone or some group declares that they don't perceive it to be wrong.

Of course words do vary from society to society. For instance, the same English word that is a swear word in the U. S. may not be a swear word in England or Australia and vice versa. Yet whatever a culture had deemed as its swear words and bad language, doesn't change within that society simply because someone or some group sees it differently.

If the best way you have to gain acceptance with a sub-cultural group is to adopt some of their profane and or obscene language, perhaps you should take a little more time learning how to witness to people. Jesus hung out with some of the worst people of His society, yet we never hear of Him compromising any part of God's Word to reach them, even if they didn't have a problem with Him doing that.

Another approach some Christians use to justify using bad language to witness to certain groups is to claim that it follows the example of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 9:22 where he said, "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." R. S. V.

Certainly the phrase "by all means" does not mean that "anything goes" in order to reach others and gain their trust so as to be able to better witness to them. In fact in the previous verse, verse 21, Paul makes it clear that "by all means" has its limits. It isn't a carte blanche which gives us the freedom to use any means we feel like using in the name of reaching others. On the contrary, Paul clearly says that he is still under Christ's law in everything, and therefore to go against God's law in Christ to witness to someone isn't an option. The English Standard Version puts it this way.

"To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law." I Cor. 9:21. E. S. V.

Commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry put it well when he said, "Though he would transgress no laws of Christ, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself to all men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some."

I agree and as such it seems to me that to use language that ones' overall society deems profane, evil or obscene language is in fact to transgress God's law and the law of Christ. Trying to justify it by claiming it fits within the "by all means" statement of Paul simply isn't faithful to the text and what Paul was teaching in I Cor. 9:21. Like the physical laws of the universe, God's Word doesn't change just because someone firmly holds a different position or takes a passage out of context to use it to justify their position. Resetting our Scriptural compass to accommodate circumstantial situations will always lead us off course.

There is a story about a science teacher who asked one of his students to take part in a little experiment. He had her stand up. When she did the teacher spun her around a few times and then asked her to point in the direction she was sure was due North. She did and she was absolutely positive that the direction she was pointing was due North. However, in reality she was 90 degrees off and was pointing due East. In spite of the fact that she was positive she was facing North, she was still facing East and guess what. North never moved to accommodate her.

As Christians we have to follow Paul's example who clearly followed Jesus' example. Our goal should certainly be to reach as many as we can with Christ's Love, but we cannot justify breaking God's Law in Christ to accomplish that. The bottom line is that God's Word is still God's Word for us, even if we're witnessing or ministering to non-believers who don't recognize or accept God's Word. In spite of what they might claim, North is still North. As well intended as we may be, there is no caveat in God's Word which allows us to recalculate the spiritual compass of His Word in our efforts to reach others.

In fact, when Christians do things like swear in an effort to try to better relate to non-Christians, that kind of witness can and does backfire. Even though they're non-Christians, they're not stupid. In our society, most non-Christians are still very much aware of what Christian behavior is supposed to look like and when they see us breaking our own laws of Scripture, it can come off as hypocritical and disingenuous. In fact it's often non-Christians who are among the first to call Christians hypocrites for their non-Christian behavior.

Christians who say using bad language is sometimes alright to do also base that position on what they say are examples of bad language being used in Scripture. They say that the Apostle Paul used bad language, namely the "s" curse to make an important point about Jesus. They cite Philippians 3:8 as their example. Here are two translations of that verse.

"Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ" Good News Translation

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," K. J. V.

The word "garbage" in the Good News Translation and "dung" in the King James Version come from the Greek noun s??ßa???, pronounced skubalon.

Since it can be translated as "dung" some Christians claim that s??ßa??? was also the Greek equivalent of the "s" curse in English and that Paul was using it that way. They then go on to say that the only reason it doesn't appear in English translations as the "s" curse is because translators are trying to be nice and soften what it really means and what Paul really said. After all, having the "s" curse in The Bible in Greek would certainly raise some issues for some folks.

Yet to support that claim you'd have to do two things. First, based on its history and etymology, you'd have to show that s??ßa??? was normally used at times as the "s" curse in Greek culture. Nothing I have been able to research comes close to proving that to be the case. Second, even if you could provide clear evidence that the s??ßa??? could be translated as the equivalent of our "s" curse today, you would still have to prove that that was the way Paul intended to use it.

Of the 30 different English versions of The Bible I looked at s??ßa??? is translated as "garbage" or a synonym thereof 18 times and "dung" or a synonym thereof 8 times. The rest came in with normal English words like "worthless" and "nothing" and two versions had the word "filth."

When you study its origin it seems all too clear that the word primarily really did mean "garbage" or at worst the equivalent in English to "dung" which isn't a swear word in either Greek or English. Even if you could find evidence of it being used somewhere in Greek culture as the "s" curse, claiming that that is the way Paul was using it simply isn't faithful to the text and here's why.

First of all, as was the case with ßeß????? in II Timothy 2:16, s??ßa??? is a word made up of two other Greek root words. The first is ????, pronounced kuon which means dog, specifically a stray or scavenging canine. The second is ß????, pronounced ballo, which comes from the verb to throw. So properly, the word actually represents things a person would throw to scavenging dogs to eat and in those days that would only be what people wouldn't eat themselves, namely garbage. Still today in many countries dogs never get people food. They get only the garbage scraps that are left which people refuse to eat. So Paul is saying here that everything he had in life before he met Christ can be compared to the scraps or garbage that one throws out to a scavenging dog.

More evidence supporting the translation of "garbage" and not even "dung," let alone anything close to the "s" curse, comes from the fact that the form of the noun he uses is in the plural. That clearly indicates that there was more than one thing being referred to by him, indicating the numerous scraps which go into making up the garbage one might throw to a dog. If it was Paul's intention to mean "dung" or any equivalent to our "s" curse today, he would have used the singular form of the noun. Using the plural form for that purpose simply doesn't work in Greek or English.

One more thing. It makes little sense that Paul would write Christians instructing them to refrain from profane and other bad language in one letter and use that same kind of language in another letter. Granted, the language he uses here certainly paints a somewhat more graphic picture to get his point across, but it doesn't cross the threshold of being profane, bad, evil or obscene language. Trying to make a case here for Paul swearing and thereby freeing Christians to do the same when they feel it's appropriate, just isn't something the original text supports. To do so you'd have to be doing more eisegesis than exegesis.

Of course, this isn't the only time in Scripture that Paul uses some bold language to make his point. In Galatians 5:12 when Paul is upset with people who still insist on keeping the Jewish law and being circumcised even though they are now Christians, he says he wishes they would cut and or mutilate themselves when they do it. The Greek word he uses is ?p??????ta?, pronounced apokopsontai, which does mean to cut or mutilate. This is certainly a more graphic use of language and it shows Paul's anger at how people were refusing God's Grace in Christ. Yet the words he chooses are normal, acceptable words in Greek which never cross the threshold into profane, evil or obscene language.

We do the same thing in English. If my son and I are walking the dog and the dog does his business and I say to my son, please pick up the dog dung with the plastic bag we brought along, that would not be swearing in our culture. However if I used the "s" curse it would be swearing because the "s" curse is a recognized swear word in our society. "Dung" and the "s" curse are not the same. They are two different words, one of which crosses the line into the area of swear words while the other does not. So if I use the word "dung" instead of the "s" curse it would be wrong of someone to say that I really meant "s" when I clearly chose to use "dung." If I wrote a letter to someone and used the word "dung" in it, for someone to read that letter to someone else and substitute the "s" curse would be inappropriate and unfaithful to the original word I chose.

There are numerous other examples of Scripture where language is rather honest and blunt, but doesn't cross the line of being profane or evil or foul. One such example is II Kings 18:27 where people are spoken of as eating their own dung and drinking their own urine. Another case would be Ezekiel 23:30 where some specific sexual acts are being described.

Yet, as was the case with Paul and the Greek word s??ßa???, you'll see that the words used in these Old Testaments passages are normal Hebrew words versus swear words from that society. The words chosen do describe some rather graphic things, but they do so without crossing the threshold into obscene, profane or swear words in that culture. In the Hebrew the words are normal words as opposed to swear words. That's the difference. If you'd like to see the details of the Hebrew for the II Kings 18:27 passage you can go to http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/strongs_2755.htm. For the Ezekiel 23:20 passage you can go to http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/2231.htm and http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/1320.htm.

So we see that from time to time the writers of Scripture used normal, acceptable words to describe some rather extreme case scenarios. Yet I'd suggest that doing it that way takes more intelligence and mastery of the language than it does to default to the profane, evil or obscene to get the job done.

The Bible makes it clear that all swear words, in any language and society, carry a negative connotation. By their very nature they are designed to degrade and put people down. I feel one would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say they enjoy being the focus of bad or obscene language. Such words are designed to make people feel bad and are aimed at tearing them down. Scripture is clear in telling us to use language designed to build each other up instead of beating each other up.

Moreover, when it comes to relating to non-believers we can love them, respect them and communicate with them without the use of profane, evil or obscene language and still be respected by them. Missionaries have been doing that for centuries with great success. One doesn't have to engage in behavior God forbids in order to reach others for Christ.

Up until now in this article I have focused on the various kinds of bad language which Scripture details. I've also focused on why using bad language isn't something Christians should be doing and I've made a case for why God doesn't circumstantially approve of using bad language in the name of trying to reach those who don't share our Christian values. I also shown that the original texts don't support the claims that Paul and others used swear words at times to make their point.

At this point I'm going to switch gears a bit and focus on how one can practically live out the command of Scripture to avoid using bad language. Let's face it. We are all tempted to let a few swear or obscene words fly from time to time, but God is already ahead of us on that point and is obviously aware of the fact that the world will tempt us in this area of our behavior.

We see that by how God writes this command. He says let no foul talk "come out of your mouths." That shows that God is very aware that we are far from perfect and when we get upset or in a tight situation, bad words will come to us and we will indeed be tempted to speak them. However, He tells us to make sure they don't come out of our mouths. Yet how do we do that, especially when our whole society is becoming more and more desensitized to swearing, profanity and obscenity all the time?

There are actually some very practical ways to have a victory over bad language in our lives which I'll get to shortly, but before I do, let's take a look at just what we're up against these days and just how desensitized to bad language we've become in our society. "Back in the day" as they say, the "d" curse was seen as a major swear word. Today it's seen at most as the equivalent to a "white lie" as if a "white lie" is somehow also alright with God. When the "d" curse was first used in a movie it was breaking national news! People found it difficult to fathom that a swear word was actually going to be used in a public movie. The movie of course was "Gone With The Wind." In fact, since the day that movie premiered, language in movies and on television and radio has become progressively worse. Formats where bad language was never used now commonly use all kinds of bad and foul language.

It really is amazing how desensitized we've actually become on this issue. For example, Greg Groeschel, pastor of the second largest congregation in The United States asked a friend if he'd seen any good movies lately. His friend recommended "The Hangover" as one of the funniest movies he'd ever seen. Pastor Groeschel then asked a few members of his staff if any of them had seen the movie and they said yes and it was a "must see."

Yet before he took the whole family to see it, he felt he should check out a review of the movie on "Screenit.com" which is a movie review website for families. He said what he found "floored" him. What he found really does show just how desensitized we've become to bad language in our culture.

Here is the report on the movie.

It contains:

91 different variations of the f-bomb.
41 excretory words.
14 references to a person's rear end.
13 uses of the word hell.
9 slang terms for male anatomy. 31 variations of taking God's Name in vain.

Pastor Groeschel then went back to his staff members who recommended the movie and told them that the movie has 91 f-bombs, which comes out to about one f-bomb a minute. Incredibly enough, the most common response from his staff was, "Really? I didn't even notice" to which he responded, "Really. . . you didn't notice one 'f' word each minute?"

Christians today go to movies like this all the time. In essence they pretty much declare that they'll just ignore the foul language and try to enjoy the funny or good parts of the movie in spite of it. They'll tell you they sort of spiritually compartmentalize the bad things similar to the way your computer quarantines a virus. What they are saying is that they can actually be immersed in that kind of language and come out unfazed. The problem though is that this kind of language and obscenity does have an effect on people. It does assault our soul and spirit. That it what was designed to do. We may say we won't let it bother us, but that is really spiritually naïve on our part.

Pastor Groeschel puts it plainly when he goes on to ask, "Can you really endure an onslaught of 'f bombs' in a movie and not get wounded?" Is sitting in that theater and turning off your spiritual radar really going to protect you from the damage of those incoming spiritual missiles that do keep coming even when you've turned off your radar? In my opinion that is a classic example of a leap of foolishness disguised as a leap of faith.

It's sort of like standing outside a leaking nuclear power plant and expecting nothing bad will happen. It might be a sunny day with a beautiful blue sky and if asked you would say you feel absolutely fine. Yet you are being bombarded by stuff that will build up inside you and do you harm even though at the time you feel absolutely nothing.

The very fact that a committed Christian would sit through 91 f-bombs as well as all the other foul and obscene language in that movie without getting up and leaving, clearly shows that an inappropriate level of tolerance for things God forbids has already taken root. As Christians, do we really feel God is pleased with us purposefully sitting in a theatre immersing ourselves in this kind of spiritual poison and supporting it with our dollars?

So we have to be vigilant and on guard with regard to what bad language can and will do in our lives and the lives of others. God never forbids or warns us about things for the fun of it. It's always because whatever He's telling us to stay away from is something that can do us and others harm.

We should realize again from Ephesians 4:30, that when we do swear and allow profane or foul talk to come out of our mouths, it will injure and harm others. Far from building a person up, it calls up images which at the least are improper and at the worst are disgusting and degrading to others. In addition, its effects can also impact those nearby who also hear it, especially children.

It's in direct disobedience to what God says we should be doing regarding how we speak to others. In short, when we use bad language we sin against others and against God. Speaking about the language we choose to use, in James 3:8-10 God puts it about as clear as it can get.

"but no human being can tame the tongue --- a relentless evil, full of poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so." R. S. V.

Allow me to conclude this article by taking a look at just how we can have victory over bad language in our lives. I like to use the analogy that when we boldly and knowingly commit any sin, it's just like picking up a hammer and purposefully driving the nails into Jesus' Hands all over again and acting like it's nothing! This is the image and analogy that God actually used to get my attention. I came to see my flagrant and arrogant use of bad language in that way. Each time I used bad language, it was as if I had chosen to pick up a hammer and just drive another nail into Jesus' Hand.

I'll never forget teaching on this subject in an adult class at a Church in The Dalles, Oregon. Later that day, a man shared with me that he was struggling with the problem of swearing and foul language. He certainly was a Christian, but he'd been brought up in a tough lifestyle. He had been a marine and also worked in construction where using foul language was just a way of life. Yet, after hearing the teaching and what was in God's Word, he felt convicted by The Holy Spirit that what Scripture said about this subject was correct and he felt he had to do something about it.

He told me he felt he had to come up with a word that he could use when he became upset that he could substitute for his swearing. I told him I agreed and with joy in his eyes he told me he had already come up with the word. He was impressed with how God had shown me that when I used bad language it was like driving more nails into Jesus. So he said that from now on whenever he felt he was going to swear, he'd say the word "NAILS" instead of a bad word. He also said that when people might ask him why he was saying, "NAILS," he'd use that as an opportunity to witness to them about God and His Power in his life. That is a blessing.

I feel it's fair to say that based on what Scripture teaches us on this subject, using profanity and or any bad or obscene language in ones' society is inconsistent with and damaging to a good Christian witness. The opposite is also true in that when we stop using bad language or don't use it in the first place, that gets noticed by others around us and is in and of itself a good witness to what we are trying to do to obey God.

However, we must realize that we can never do this ourselves. We must ask The Holy Spirit to give us the ability to keep those bad words from exiting our mouths. It really does work, especially when we admit to God that what He says about bad language is correct, and to continue to use it in spite of what He says is wrong.

The Fruit Of The Holy Spirit are mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. Self-control is mentioned there and if we ask The Holy Spirit to take control of this area of our lives, we will see big changes.

As I said earlier, I was one of the biggest users of bad language you could find and I kept using it even after I became a Christian until I was convicted by The Holy Spirit of how wrong it really is and the damage it does to others.

So I committed to "not allowing any foul language to come out of my mouth." I depended on God's Holy Spirit for the strength and ability to make that happen and it has indeed worked. This may sound like boasting, but it's really just boasting about what God can do through a sinner like me. My children are now 34, 32, and 27 years of age and none of them have ever heard a single swear word come out of my mouth, and trust me, especially in their teenage years, they gave me plenty of reason to let a few bad words fly. However, by His Grace, my tongue has been kept under control and it has made a real difference in our home, our lives and our witness to others for Christ.

God has taken the time in His Word to instruct us in this important topic. As we take seriously what He says about our use of language, we can be sure He will be faithful and will encourage us and empower us to keep our tongues under the control of His Spirit in ways that will bring Him glory and will witness more credibly to those we are trying to reach for Him.

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