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What You Say Says More Than What You Say

By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted May 1, 2006
Edgefielddaily.com columnist

The Parents Television Council is an 800,000 member organization that I personally know very little about but they recently released a very interesting study. The results showed that between 1998 and 2002 that censored language used on television increased 94.8% during the Family Hour and 109.1% during the 9 pm est time slot. In this particular article, the author made this observation, “Once prime time television pushes the envelope on something, it becomes a stamp of normalcy.”

Are these people just stuffy alarmists looking for something to be overly concerned about? Has the language we use truly become an accurate reflection of our society? Is society now setting the standard for what we as believers find acceptable? I believe we have become so bombarded that we no longer let language effect us. People actually make fun of you if you say something about the offensive language they are using. It has become a personal right for some to spew obscenities and a violation of those rights if we say we are offended. We are told to take our virgin ears and just go away.

Most people speak and don’t take the time to think about what they are saying is saying about them. Words are a revelation of the mind and the mind is a revelation of our relationship with the Lord. To be able to communicate is one of the most amazing gifts given to us by God. And yet, when the mind has no control, the mouth becomes a weapon able to inflict emotional scars that may never completely heal. For some reason, anger and insult seem to be accompanied by abusively, profane language thus revealing a mind controlled by impulse rather than maturing spirituality.

Is such language a true problem? Let me share with you the following quote. “Although many are unwilling to recognize it, the use of profanity is a big deal. According to Cuss Control Academy, an organization in Lake Forest, Illinois—which incidentally has no religious affiliation and gives presentations on how to help eliminate profanity from the workplace—“swearing” imposes both personal and societal penalties. For the individual user, it endangers relationships, discloses a lack of character, reflects ignorance as well as immaturity, and creates an overall bad impression.  It often turns discussions into arguments and can lead to violence. James V. O’Conner, the president of CCA, contends: ‘Our reluctance to restrain our impulses and to make the effort to be polite is contributing to a coarser, less civil society.’”

That’s the last thing we need is a coarser, less civil society. We have enough of that as it is. Listen to what the Bible has to say about the words we use.

No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:3-4

Watching our language involves monitoring our minds. The proper filter is an essential part in screening the input and output of our minds and mouths. The Lord remains the best filter there is. Use Him to guard your minds and change your language. What you say says everything about who you are and who He is in you.

Changing your language with Christ’s help may just change the course of your life and the influence you have on others. I’m not trying to sound like a persnickety old preacher. But, there isn’t a separate standard for me and one for all other believers. You wouldn’t tolerate your pastor throwing a cussing fit in the pulpit. Why should you make others tolerate it from you in the home, workplace, ball field, golf course, or parking lot? God’s standard for us is to reflect His nature and therefore, draw others to Him. We can’t do that if we are allowing society to set the standard for our mouths.

The kinder, gentler America once urged by our President may just begin by a kinder and gentler mouth on all of us. The best way to demonstrate a change is to begin with an apology. Try it, you’ll earn a great deal of respect.

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