Profanity is the use of strong words by weak people. —William A. Ward

I am continually surprised that profanity is an issue in the church. That we are commanded to avoid foul language seems obvious and beyond dispute to me; yet what I find most shocking is the number of professing Christians who justify their profanity and deny that it is sinful.

1. You can’t make people holy by becoming unholy.

In Matthew 13:37, we read, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.” If a mouth spews filth, the heart is filthy. If the tongue pours out rebellion, surely there is rebellion in the heart. We must realize that our tongue is not an isolated instrument in the body; rather it produces words that are the manifestation of the realities of our heart. Our heart- the same heart which is commanded to wholly love our God. This should terrify us. When we reflect on things that we have said, we are forced to face the darkness that lurks in our own hearts. Inconsistency in our speech pollutes our character and witness.

Given this profound connection, I am amazed by the brilliantly ridiculous excuse that cursing “for Jesus” responds to a culture that will not listen unless we speak using language that will allow us to fit in. Profanity is unholy; have we forgotten the grossness of evil? When our words are unholy; is our heart, then, not unholy as well? When the heart is unholy, how can we possibly think that we will be reaching out to a world and making them “holier.

2. Foul speech not only dismisses your God-given authority; it dismisses the very authority of God.

We don’t have to dig in very deep in our Bibles to see the gravity of the spoken word. Genesis 1: The whole world was created by the spoken words of God. That should be enough to convince you. We can also turn to the beginning of the New Testament, where Jesus is referred to as the “Word of God”

Let us not forget that it was a word that calmed the sea: “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).

It was Jesus’ word that had the power to cast out demons: “When the [evening] was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matthew 8:16).

It was the word that was established as a vehicle of faith: “If ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done” (Matthew 21:21).

For the word, we have already been warned: “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:10).

And, it is to the word, we will be held accountable. But I say unto you, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

3. How many relationships could be saved if people were a little less hasty with their words?

I am sure you can answer this one without me.

“A man is filled with what comes from his mouth and is nourished by what his lips provide. The tongue has power over life and death, those who like speaking will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:20-21).

God has spoken clearly; there are no exceptions. Speak life, not death.