Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Power of Language

I work in an environment where the language is, well, not the best (understatement of the year). The curses are a general part of everyday language. Most of the folks don't even seem to notice it. The company has a policy against it, but no enforcement exists. Frankly, I'm not surprised when lost people use foul language; they're lost. I shouldn't expect anything else. As for me, I try as best I can to filter what they say to hear the message without the colorful additions.

Since I don't curse, I also stand out. I don't think about it, but others have mentioned it to me. I'm glad if it makes me look different if it will lead to discussions of Christ and his gospel.

I bring this up because each day I am reminded of the power of language for both good and evil. I hear a lot of evil at work. Good is possible as well. It's amazing what a word of encouragement can do even in a factory. I make an attempt each day to be a positive influence on others through my speech.

We are made in God's image. He spoke the universe into existence. It makes sense that our speech would be powerful. We have a choice each day to use it for his glory or for other lesser purposes. I hope to use it for the good.

I'm reminded yet again of a simple yet profound verse that has deeply impacted me:

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

6 comments:

Heather said...

What a lovely reminder on being conscious of your words. I was in a similar environment where I worked before having children. It was interesting to see how the people around me would apologize for their language and catch themselves more often just because I didn't speak like them.

kbswan1 said...

You probably do not like my blog very much then :(

swanny

Aussie John said...

Eric,

Words are neither good nor evil, but can be used for either.

It has been my own experience that many people using, what we would refer to as, "bad language", don't even understand the meaning of the words they are using.

It is good that they recognize that you use a different vocabulary.

That in itself, often has an affect for the better. It certainly did amongst those with whom I worked when I began "tent making".

Eric said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. Language truly is a gift. We must be good stewards of it.

I try to keep James' statement in mind about not being able to tame the tongue. It is a battle all day long, but one we can have victory in through Christ. We really can do much good with what we say to both the church and the lost world.

reformedlostboy said...

My habits are to filter my words because I grew up at home and at work around the vulgar language of the common folk but in the religious circles in which I chose to be a part, this was unacceptable and a mark of being lost and unregenerate.

Interestingly enough, I was built up today by reading a blog that would have been considered quite offensive not only because of its colorful language but also because of its condemnation of shallow religious caves and call to come out into the light.

Vulgarity is like a brick, it can be used to smash a window or to build a building. I'm no longer of the opinion that using certain words is a mark of spiritual immaturity but I still remain mindful that many religious folks find it offensive, so I use it carefully.

Eric said...

Bobby,

Vulgar language is an interesting issue because, as you say, some wrongly use it as a sign of salvation (along with refraining from smoking and drinking). Others, however, abuse it in the name of Christian freedom.

Ephesians 5:4 says, "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving." My desire is to honor God with all my speech. I see no point in imitating the world's language.

In the end, as with all behavior, our desire needs to be to honor God, not impress man. My hope is to refrain from vulgarity in order to glorify Christ.