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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2004

What Should I Say?

I don’t know if you have ever had your mouth washed out with soap, but it is not a fun experience. The soap tastes terrible, and the aftertaste lasts a long time. You see, around many houses certain words are off limits. If children are caught saying these “dirty words” then their parents “clean up” their mouths with a good soap washing. Parents do this to teach their children how important words can be.

The Bible says that your words are very important. Jesus Himself said that how a person talks determines whether that person will be saved or lost (Matthew 12:36-37). The book of James has almost an entire chapter that talks about how powerful the tongue is, even though it is so little (James 3).

How can we know what we should say and what we should not say? The apostle Paul gave us clear instructions about how to use our tongues. He said that we should only say thingsthat are good for building people up and helping them to be better (Ephesians 4:29). In the movie Bambi, Thumper—Bambi’s rabbit friend —said that his mom told him that if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. That is basically what Paul says.

This rule shows us that we should never say bad words or curse words. It also shows us that we should not take the name of the Lord in vain. One of the Ten Commandments says: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Using the Lord’s name in vain means using God’s name when you are not really thinking about God or Jesus. Most of you have seen on TV when a person is really surprised, she might say, “Oh my God” or “Good Lord” or “Jesus Christ.” That person is not really thinking about God or Jesus; she is simply using their names for no reason. That is using God’s name in vain. We should never do that, because God takes this very seriously. In fact,
in one Old Testament story, a man cursed and misused God’s name. God told Moses to stone that man for cursing and misusing His name (Leviticus 24:10-23).

Your words are very powerful. With them you can build others up and make people feel good, or you can hurt yourself and others. Remember Paul’s rule, and don’t let bad things like curse words or using God’s name in vain come out of your mouth.

Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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