Guard Your Tongue!

By Ron Halbrook

For the truth’s sake, we need to guard the tongue. “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas. 3:8). Every power for good is also a power for evil when misused. And, the tongue is a great power, either way it is used. “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (v. 5). The tongue is used to “bless … God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (vv. 9-10).

Cursing, swearing, profanity, and vile speech of every kind have become the order of the day for many people. Such speech often uses the name of God in a degrading way, to strengthen cursing and profanity. And, generally, such speech expresses extreme bitterness, disgust, or a desire for harm toward another person (for some real or imagined injury). The speaker sometimes even directs such expressions toward himself (for some weakness or mistake he has made). All such speech shows a lack of respect for God, self, and others!

The solution is threefold. (1) We must exalt God in our hearts–“love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (2) We must have a proper regard for ourselves. As spiritual beings, we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Man is the crowning work of God’s creation. God “made him a little lower than the angels, and halt crowned him with glory and honour” (Ps. 8:5). In view of his eternal destiny, man is of greater value than all material things combined. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26). (3) Just as we are to love (seek the good of) ourselves, we are to love others. “Thou shah love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). Proper regard for God, self, and others stops vile speech of all descriptions.

“Polite” cursing and compromise with profanity are found in the form of euphemisms. Euphemisms are substitutes for direct cursing. To damn, in profanity, is to curse. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (1975) defines “darn” and “darn” as “damn: a euphemism for the curse.” “fleck” is “an exclamation used as a euphemism for hell.” “Blamed” is “a substitute for damned.” Others include “gosh” (“euphemism for God”), “gee” (“euphemistic contraction of Jesus”), “golly” (“euphemism for God’), “doggone” (“an imprecation, or perhaps a euphemistic remodeling of God Damn”), and “confound” (“damned, a mild oath”).

Christians who love God, self, and others properly will avoid all such speech. Sinners need to obey the Gospel of Christ to be forgiven of such speech; they must believe in Christ, repent of sins, confess Jesus Christ, and be baptized in water for remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16, Rom. 10:10, 1 Pet. 3:21). “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more,” God promises (Heb. 8:12).

Truth Magazine, XX:16, p. 11-12
April 16, 1976