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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unwholesome Talk


     Christians who read their Bibles know that foul language, filthy talk, and all manner of negative statements that tear down another person are frowned upon as indicated in the Scriptures.  In fact, in the book of Ephesians, the limits are clearly stated by the apostle Paul regarding what should and should not be said.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen...Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  (4:29, 31)

     Whether you're Christian or not, using profanity (especially excessively) is both unprofessional in the workplace and possibly offensive in social settings.  Because people won't always tell you directly that they're bothered by coarse language, you may think it is acceptable to proceed with profanity-laced comments in your conversations with them.  Consider, however, that though they may be smiling or expressionless on the outside, they may be cringing on the inside.  As with most people, those who don't curse tend to associate with people like them.  Therefore, if that's not the environment they're used to, they may find it off-putting when they do hear people spew our foul and/or filthy language in their presence.  We should be cognizant of the people with whom we interact.  Just because certain behavior is acceptable to us doesn't mean it's an automatic okay for others.
      Another aspect of the language addressed in these Scriptures is negative talk--gossip, backbiting, arguing, and accusations.  Even if you don't let an F-bomb drop in your confrontations, it is still unacceptable to rage against another individual when disagreements occur.  Since we know that conflict in inevitable in life, we need to better prepare ourselves for when it occurs.  There's no escaping it so we need to be ready.
     Anger that is allowed to fester because solutions have not been sought or implemented can turn into bitterness over time.  I have seen bitter people sabotage work on the job, back stab friends, and make malicious attempts to discredit people they've determined are their enemies.  Bitterness can be vengeful.  You can hear it in the hard line people take when faced with the situation that angers them.  Words like, "I don't care.  I hope he fails."  Or "She got what was coming.  I'm glad I could witness it."  These are as hurtful as any curse words.
     In the Scriptures, we are encouraged to look for ways to resolve our issues and address matters with a more conciliatory heart.  We all need forgiveness.  There isn't a solitary soul that doesn't.  Unfortunately, we don't give it as readily as we should, neither do we ask for it as often as we should. Gentleness and kindness have retreated from the hearts of many, and we seem to be more prepared to fight than to try peace.  Where is empathy and compassion?  They are not far away; just buried beneath resentment and pain.  We need to be more intentional about putting them at the forefront of our interactions.
     Words matter.  Make sure those you choose to use daily are wholesome and encouraging.