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Monday, August 18, 2014

Shine Like Stars in the Darkness

cussing, cursing, profanity, bad language, Bible, Philippians 2:14-15, Ephesians 5:29
Remember when mild cuss words were deleted from TV and radio? 

It was nice. It didn't make shows or songs one bit less interesting. Quite the contrary. 

But things have changed. Americans are now comfortable with profanity: 72% of men and 58% of women swear in public. In one study, 64% admitted they use the F word.* 

But God hasn't changed. He still expects Christians to "censor" all bad language from our speech. When our culture turns dark, we're supposed to shine like stars (Philippians 2:14-15).

"Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth" Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)

That verse alone should convict us to clean up our speech, but here's an additional word from Jesus: "everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36 

Now that's a verse worth "chewing on."
*I didn't find statistics for using God's name in vain which I consider the worse offense. 
Sources: SwearingProfanity


Bible Study

A few thoughts on Bad Language
  • Profanity = Adult Crying 
Psychologists associate profanity with crying. They believe that when we get to a certain age, we realize it's inappropriate to cry in public, but we can use bad language to express the same feeling. They assume that's why men tend to cuss more than women because crying is considered more inappropriate for men than for women. I'm not sure if I buy this. I associate childhood crying more with pain, sadness, or self-pity and cussing more with anger or flippancy. What do you think?
  • The Difference between Swearing and Cursing 
Some sources differentiate between swearing and cursing. Swearing is using bad language; cursing is wishing a person harm (i.e. putting a curse on them). 
  • God or Body Functions
In every language profanity typically involves using a deity's name in vain or using crude language associated with body functions. This confirms the Bible's conclusion that man sinks to the lowest level without God.

1. Identify the "do not" and the "do" in the passage below. 

Ephesians 4:29: Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (AMP) 

2. What additional thoughts and commands do these verses add to the previous passage? 

Ephesians 5:4,11-12: Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]... 11Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people] practice in secret. (AMP) 

Please work through the questions yourself before reading the insights below.

Insights 

1. Ephesians 4:29 makes me think of the old saying "If you are busy doing the do's, you won't have time to do the don'ts." If we are focusing on good and gracious speech, we won't have room for unwholesome words.

2. Ephesians 5:4,11-12 is very specific lest we have any doubts about what is appropriate for a Christian. 

Instead of watching television shows and reading books that glorify "fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness," we should be ashamed to spend time on such things. Hearing ungodly speech desensitizes us and often leads us to use inappropriate speech.

In regard to humor: Christians aren't meant to be sour and humorless. We're supposed to have a merry heart (Proverbs 17:22) but our enjoyment should be clean and wholesome. 

For another good article on godly speech, see The Swearing Christian

Next week, Bite Size will start a series on the Psalms.
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

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