Words that Build Up or Words that Tear Down
by Larry Eddings | February 1, 2018Language is a means for communicating. It provides a way for persons to live in community and to express and exchange thoughts and ideas. Language is a beautiful gift from God, who even gives us the ability to learn languages of other cultures so that members of the human family can relate across cultural boundaries.
The words we use in communicating with each other have the power to be spoken in a way that blesses, encourages and edifies another person. Words also have the power to belittle, degrade and curse the one who hears them. We have the power to choose which it will accomplish – to bless or to curse; to build up or to tear down.
My question is, with so many positive words available in the English language, with which to express ourselves to another, why is it necessary for some to continue using vulgar, sick and perverted words, especially the wrongful use of the name of Jesus or God our Father, in trying to emphasize what they are thinking? Why are their sentences punctuated with four-letter swear words that spew filth on the one to whom they are speaking? Are they trying to impress their companions with their “I’m being one of the ‘in’ crowd”, or, a desire to “need to shock the listener,” attitude, in order to show how really “cool” they are? Their body language generally reflects their verbal language.
In reality, the one who uses such crass and vulgar words in speaking to another, is revealing their ignorance. More to the point, the person who uses such words is dumb. Ignorant means that one simply does not yet know or understand the appropriate ways to communicate, or how to use appropriate words, and so, is willing to learn and is willing to be taught. Dumb means that a person does not know, doesn’t want to know and has no desire to know or be taught another way to speak. Their vocabulary in their native language is comprised of filthy cuss words. It’s the only language they know. They are not teachable! They are dumb!
Jesus made it very clear, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man [and woman] brings forth the good things out of the good stored up in him [and her], and the evil man [and woman] brings forth the evil things from the evil stored up in him [and her]. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.” [Matthew 12:34b-37] God takes words seriously!
People who are identified with Jesus Christ and who know they are a new creation, also learn a new language. It is a language of love and kindness. We endeavor to have the mind of Christ and to think and speak as he does. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, what is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is praiseworthy, think about these things.” [Philippians 4:8] And speak accordingly; speaking the Truth in Love.