"Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince" (Proverbs 17:7). "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient [becoming], but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:4).
How our everyday language has degenerated in our culture! Where there once was some degree of "reverence" for holy, sacred things, that seems to be relegated to the past. Besides common lying, listen to all our modern expletives, heard in all kinds of public venues, all the way to our private homes, where families engage in coarse, vulgar talk through the influence of television, movies, music, and radio. If you think you are exempt from this onslaught of evil speech, you better think again. A big dosage of foul language, sensuality, and semi-nudity is thrown at all of us on a daily basis. And the "Christian world" is so fast asleep and at ease, if anyone says anything about it, the cry is immediately made, "You're just being legalistic." "Being legalistic" often is a nice, cute little catch-phrase for hiding behind, "Leave us alone; what we say and think is nobody's business." Not even God's?
But what about "excellent speech" (Proverbs 17:7) and "pleasant words" (Proverbs 15:26; 16:24), which can only be spoken by "the pure," not the foolish? I realize this is not "speaking" politically correct to even think someone else might be "a fool" or have "foolish" ways, but if we believe Scripture is authoritative, forget about political correctness. "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you perceive not in him the lips of knowledge," and "Fools make a mock at sin" (Proverbs 14:7,9). "Go from the presence of a foolish man"? Surely not, we say, that would be extreme. Read it again. The mockery and blasphemy being poured forth in our God-hating country today is unbelievable. From the new curse phrase, "O my God," to all the four-letter words that once were only used in back alleys and gutters, we hear our God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and all things sacred, ridiculed and denigrated daily (some even from religious people and preachers).
What about your speech, beloved? Now, let's just be honest here. Hasn't even the speech of Christians changed? We hear many Christian people using phrases like, "O my God," "I was lucky," "Gosh," "O Lordy," "Jesus," and other bad things that we will not repeat here. Is this speech becoming a follower of the lovely Saviour, who spoke "gracious words" (Luke 4:22)? It was said of our holy Lord, "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46). Should not His followers' speech be different also? Yes, for according to Paul, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6). Sadly, our "answers" to others are not always with "excellent speech."
When I was a boy and used any foul language, my precious mother would say to me, "You need your mouth washed out with soap." And often I got more than that -- whipping with a hickory stick! How times have changed. Today, the whole family often talks bad, parents and children alike, and the foul-mouthed women of our day have learned much from foul-mouthed men. We let movie stars teach us how to talk, and we seem to be eager to learn the newest fad in cursing. This may not be something you like to read, but it is something you NEED to read. We need wholesale "mouth washing" in our country, but it is really "heart cleansing" that is needed, for Christ had it right: "All these evil things come from WITHIN, and defile the man" (Mark 7:23). Repentance is sorely needed in the modern church regarding our speech, and only a sovereign-sent REVIVAL from heaven is going to get the job done. It will take more than my little feeble rantings and warnings. "Rend your HEART, and not your garments, and TURN UNTO the Lord your God" (Joel 2:13). The trumpet has been blown; who is going to the battle?
We are all fellow-strugglers in this battle, no Straight-A Christians here, none better than the other. We can only have pure speech by the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus. May our speech not betray us, as it did Simon Peter (Matthew 26:73).