Last time, we looked at four types of speech that are detrimental. They were, taking the Name of The Lord in vain, trivializing terrible realities, referencing sex, and the body in vulgar ways, and speaking mean spirited words. Today we will look at the implications of such words.
Four Implications of Such Language
The four kinds of language listed above I think Paul would include in “rotten talk.” Now let’s step back and ask what Paul might mean by calling language evil, or corrupt, or unwholesome, or rotten. If we think of spoiled or rotten fruit, like Jesus did, four implications come to mind.
1. It Does Not Nourish
First, rotten fruit does not nourish. Neither does rotten language. It does not strengthen, or improve, or help. It is not useful for food. It is good for nothing, but to be thrown out to the garbage, or compost pile.
2. It Will Probably Make You Sick
Second, rotten fruit will probably make you sick if you do try to eat it. And rotten language can make people sick, too. In other words, it not only fails to give proper nourishment; it can cause negative harm. Words can wound a person very deeply. Words can be like a virus that transmits a disease to the person spoken to. Rotten language makes people sick if they are forced to eat it.
3. It Smells Bad and Makes the Surroundings Unpleasant
Third, rotten fruit smells bad, and makes the atmosphere unpleasant. I am around a couple of men that permeate the whole room with filthy language on occasions. The pitiful thing about it is, they laugh about it. With their mouths they create an atmosphere like a stinking locker room. It is unpleasant for everybody but themselves. And when they drop by, it makes any good thoughts all but impossible to think. It’s hard to see beauty in a garbage dump. Could you stand in an “adult” bookstore and look through the window (if there were a window) and be moved by the beauty of a setting sun?
4. It Probably Comes from a Diseased Tree
The fourth implication that comes to mind when we think of rotten fruit, and rotten language, is that it probably comes from a diseased tree. If the fruit is rotten as soon as it appears on the branch (as soon as the words come out of the mouth), then the tree is bad.
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34–37).
So, we must all guard our hearts, so that our words are those which bring grace to the hearer. This study has reminded me again, of the importance of my words. I hope it has you as well.
Next time, we will finish up by looking at a new way of looking at language.