by Paul Kearns
Many of you would have heard the saying, “You are what you eat!” Indeed, this is certainly a truism; that it is important to monitor what we eat and how much we consume! However, does it matter what we speak about, what words we use, and how we speak? Is this important? Moreover, is it important from a spiritual point of view? Is this something a young person in God’s Church should consider and think about?
I’ll let Jesus Christ Himself answer these questions…
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. … For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37).
Wow, how emphatic! What we say is important to God! Furthermore, what words we choose to use and what topics we talk about can expose what is in our heart. Accordingly, listening to what others talk about also reveals what is in their hearts. This is incredibly important!
Indeed, the Bible has much to say about how God-fearing people ought to speak, including things we should say and things we should refrain from saying. Some examples of Scripture you could study on this topic are Proverbs 26:18-28 and James 3:1-12.
If you are a teenager, you’re probably starting to notice that swearing is a very popular and common trend amongst your peers. Sadly, it is something that most people take with them into adulthood, considering it to be tough, cool, and a show of strength. However, the Bible views swearing as the complete opposite! The apostle Paul tells us, “ But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:3-4). Instead of using swear words to communicate or express how we’re feeling, God’s Word tells us that this is not appropriate for Christians. Rather, we are to use wholesome words that can build up and edify others (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
If you’ve developed a habit of swearing, here’s some good news! You can overcome it! This is possible through reading God’s word and filling your mind with His thoughts (see Colossians 3:5-11).
If you have a problem with swearing, you have to ask yourself, “Am I hanging around with the wrong kind of people who use inappropriate words that are rubbing off on me? Am I watching movies, YouTube clips, or listening to music that has swearing in it?” If you do, you are actually training your mind to swear.
It doesn’t take strength or intelligence to swear, nor is it “cool.” In fact, swearing dumbs us down as we limit our minds to only using one or two words that describe a whole gamut of emotions that we feel. Swearing can turn into other problems down the track, such as hurting others with our words, or it even can end in physical violence.
Therefore, will you be courageous and refuse to laugh at dirty, inappropriate jokes, even though it means you will stand out from the crowd? Will you turn off that movie, YouTube clip, or song, that contains coarse language?
Remember, you are what you speak!