It takes courage to be a Christian woman who is Christ-like in her conversation. It’s not fashionable. We nod vigorously when we read, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving,” (Ephesians 5:4). But all too often, God’s girls have a taste for more street talk when it comes to real conversations over lunch or coffee or the copier or a status update. Somewhere on the road to being like Jesus, we agreed to give ourselves a break and call our crude talk “relevant.” Rules made us tired, so we changed the rules to include rude.
The conversation climate
When did profanity become socially acceptable to women who want the words of their mouths and the meditations of their hearts to be acceptable to their Redeemer? (Psalm 19:14) We’ve modified manners to accept vivid language about bodily functions, sex, and socially acceptable profanity. If we can use it as a caption or a meme, it can pass as funny, right? Social media has become a canvas for crass comments and common language.
Galatians 5:13 tells us freedom isn’t an opportunity to do wrong. Many Christian women have embraced low levels of profanity as “freedom.” Christ didn’t die to provide freedom to be foul.
Well timed potty mouth is the new fashion for Christian women tired of being written off as prude. Politicians in the US election field are providing plenty of foul fodder. Even members of the liberal media scratch their heads in amazement that followers of Jesus are comfortable with vulgarity. After all, we’d wash out mouths for saying what some candidates say. Even the world recognizes that dirty words don’t belong in clean hearts.
Conversation & conduct
Jesus spent time with profane people, but He didn’t become profane. He wasn’t crude. He was compassionate. He never used authority as a platform to spread crass content. Sadly, strategically inserted profanity has found a place in the speaking and writing of some Christian women of influence. They’ve led the way with their words, calling it passion or personality.” “Filthiness” is laughed at or excused with an, “I’m just sorry, but …” We cheapen grace when we use it as an excuse.
Every woman is a woman of influence with peers, family, community, or church. Women in leadership carry a weight of responsibility to use influence for good. Are our hearers more like Jesus when they read or listen to us, or do they walk away with filthy words imprinted in their ears and written on their hearts? Does our language give each other license to be like the world?
The call to clean conversation
Is “no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking” realistic today? After all, isn’t a little politically correct potty mouth acceptable, even admirable? Too many of us feel right at home with dirty talk in public speeches, on Facebook feeds, in viral videos, and over coffee after Bible study. The world is listening and wondering why we sound so fashionably foul.
The One who washed us clean also calls us to follow Jesus’ example in our conduct. “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy,'” (1 Peter 1:15-16). God calls us to cultivate well mannered mouths.
God isn’t glorified by girls who get their words out of the gutter. Let’s practice Christlike conversation. Let’s grow us in godliness producing gracious words. May the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts be acceptable in God’s sight and a sweet sound to His ears! Clean talk takes courage today. Let’s be brave.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)