David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22); thus, he prayed “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD” (Psalm 19:14). Controlling our thoughts and words is one of the most demanding, but essential endeavors we must pursue if we will be pleasing to God. Certainly one leads to the other, for as Christ noted, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:34).
There are certain words that a Christian should never use. God does not specify a list in the Bible because meanings of words in different languages and cultures change throughout time. God’s word could not possibly list all the words that constitute profanity for all cultures for all time, but in principle the Bible gives some guidelines. Christians are not to allow “corrupt communication” to proceed out of the mouth (Eph. 4:29). These words are evil or corrupt in a moral sense. We know what these words are, and the righteous will know what is acceptable to God (Prov. 10:32). “Foolish talking and jesting” are also off limits (Eph. 5:4). This would include stupid speech and vulgar, off-color jokes. No filthy communication should come out of our mouths (Col. 3:8). Any obscene speech that disregards social and moral standards is shameful. A Christian should be ashamed to ever utter such language.
James 3:5 instructs us that the tongue, though a little member, can do great damage. While many members of the Lord’s church would never use a curse word or tell a vulgar joke, gossip is so tempting and seems so innocent. It is passed along many times without a second thought. But it is a spreading fire and deadly poison (James 3:6, 8). A church member by the name of Diotrephes wanted to put himself first (3 John 9). Because he was power hungry, he resorted to verbally attacking the apostle John, “prating” against him with “malicious words” (3 John 10). The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Prov. 18:8). We must be careful not to spread lies, even if we do not know it is a lie. A “lying tongue” is one of the things the Lord hates (Prov. 6:17). “A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” are two others (Prov. 6:19). What we must ask ourselves before we say anything is: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it needed?
Since I will give an account of every word I choose to let out of my mouth in the Judgment, I must exercise extreme caution with my speech (Mt. 12:36). It is wise for me to watch my mouth, because God certainly is.