Summary: Third part of series on speaking in Christlike ways. This one discusses not cussing, but rather slander, gossip, and lying.
How We Talk
Part 3 – Getting Rid of the Potty-Mouth
April 25, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
You’ve all had the opportunity now to look in your bulletin and see the name of today’s sermon.
So let me ask you think for a moment, and don’t answer out loud, but just think:
When I use the term, “potty-mouth” what comes to mind?
Some of you are probably being waaay to literal in your mind and bringing a picture to that…
Let me guess what some of you are thinking:
Some of you are thinking in terms of cursing, or “cussing” as I grew up saying it. Not just the word – I used to actually cuss – a lot.
And to be honest with you, at times, the words still form in the back of my head – just like the Ken Davis video, right?
I think it’s safe to say that most people, especially if they grew up either using those words or hearing them a lot, are tempted to use them at times.
You hit your head on something – doesn’t happen too often with me, and when it does my biggest concern is whether or not people will see the mark!
Or in the middle of the night you crack your shin on a coffee table that isn’t in the right place because someone moved it for one reason or another.
You get your cell phone bill…
And you want to just let it out and hope no one hears you.
For some people those words are just a normal part of conversation and they don’t even think of them as swear or cuss words. They’re just as natural as any other word for many people.
But guess what – that’s not where I’m going today.
God: Our passage for today is Ephesians 4:29 –
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.
I’m not going to discuss things like “cussing” – using the F-word, the S-word, or words that are borderline cussing and may be offensive to some, including me.
I agree that there are some words and phrases that are never appropriate in any setting, and some of us will disagree on other words and phrases that might be included in that category, but we’re not going there today.
As unwholesome as that talk is, today I want to talk about three forms of unwholesome talk, or potty-mouth, that Scripture addresses and that I think are actually much more dangerous than even using the F-word.
These things are considered by God to be not just sinful, but harmful to His reputation, which is holy, and to the reputation of His Church overall.
These three forms of potty-mouth do damage to the Kingdom of God and to the image of Christ, and need to be addressed in some very strong terms.
Let me tell you something right up front: if anyone is offended today, it’s probably because you’re guilty of one or more of these, and the Holy Spirit’s talking to you.
And my hope is that you will allow Him to draw you to repentance and from this day forward going in a new direction in your speech.
Here’s the first form of potty-mouth I want to address today:
This one and the next are pretty closely related.
Slander is basically spreading a bad report, a bad reputation about someone. It also means “whispering” and carries the idea of whispering behind someone’s back.
The issue here is that you are talking negatively about someone, usually behind their back, although it doesn’t have to be behind their back, it can be quite public.
Slander doesn’t necessarily mean lying, either. It can be truthful, but it’s spread with the idea of hurting someone else.
You may have some inside hurtful information about someone and because you want to hurt them, you let other people know what that is.
Let’s see what Scripture says about slander:
He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Proverbs 17:14 (NLT) –
Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
I think it’s pretty significant to note that Jesus lumps slander in with things like murder, adultery, and sexual immorality, don’t you?
Not exactly wholesome talk, is it?
Can you see why I would think that this is even more dangerous than cussing?
Here’s the second form of potty-mouth for today: