I want to take a look at the verse mentioned in this picture, in context.
James 3: 6-18:
“And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
While we are not perfect, a true Christian will have such a change of heart, (s)he will no longer sound the same or look the same. The context from James 3, begins by referring to the tongue being something that defiles our entire body. Verses 7 and 8 tell us every beast, bird, reptile and creature of the sea has been tamed by humans. However, the tongue has never been tamed! How profound is that statement?
Next, we see pointed out, that we bless our Lord and Father and turn around and curse men, all from the same mouth. The next statement is, “these things ought not be this way.” Has this made you upset? Do you feel that the language you use does not reflect your relationship with Christ? Well, this is one of the many sins of which Christ convicted me, many years ago. I was teaching at a summer church camp. All of the teachers had to draw from a hat the topic we were to teach. I knew this topic was in that hat and I even made the comment that it would not be a topic I needed to draw, because I feel like my language is just an expressive use of language. Guess what topic I drew from that blasted hat?? Yep, “Does Foul Language Effect Your Witness?” I had three days to prepare for this lesson. I began seriously praying and searching scripture because I wanted to be able to do “a good job” teaching this class. The more I read, the more conviction I felt.
The one that really began making me “wiggle” in discomfort was beginning in verse 13. When I got to “if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth,” My thought, at the time was, “Well, I am not jealous and I am not ambitiously selfish, but I do realize I am arrogant about using foul language. Am I lying against the truth when I think it is ok to use foul language to be expressive? Does my language affect the ones I speak to? Does it affect the witness I have for Christ? Do I represent Christ the way I should? And then, to confirm my thoughts, I read on and saw the clincher verse: “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.” “WHAT? Let me read that again!! This says that what comes naturally and earthly is DEMONIC? So my thinking on this is not from God at all!!” Ok, I have to stop here, I am a bit on the stubborn side and sometimes, God has to use a brick up side my head. I knew this in my heart, there is no doubt, and I liked being “free to choose” what I wanted to do and made excuses I knew were wrong. God had a purpose in this, it had to be fixed not only on my heart, but on my mind! I had to see and know in my MIND, that my excuse of thinking this way was wrong and evil!!
I went back and reread and restudied all of the verses I had already read. And while reading, I felt the Word of God becoming a “double edged sword.” It had cut through my arrogance and straight to my heart. As a broken woman, feeling naked and vulnerable without that arrogant pride, I had a long prayer of repentance that night and a very tough time of confession before those other “teachers” the next morning.
So, we know James mentions this, but what about those other places in the Bible that talks about foul language?
and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Titus 2: 11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
2 Timothy 2:15-17a
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.
Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
What do your words, your life, your practices, say about your relationship with Christ? While we live here, we are not to look like or sound like the world. We are to LOOK and SPEAK like citizens of God’s kingdom. For the wisdom of the earth, is natural and demonic!