There’s a scene in the movie, “A Christmas Story,” where the little boy, Ralphie, uses a bad word and is forced to have his mouth washed out with soap. His mother demands to know where he learned the word, so rather than implicating his father (who apparently used profanity as a form of art), he blames a friend for his colorful language. When it really comes down to it, though, the truth is that our language doesn’t come from anyone else… it originates in our hearts. Whether it’s a profane word or simply gossip, all of that comes from deep within us. James made a stunning point when he went so far as to say that those who can’t bridle their tongues really deceive themselves as it comes to their faith. Since our ultimate trust of God and love for Him comes from within, our real commitment to Him is revealed when we speak. James wasn’t necessarily talking about bad language as much as the totality of what comes out of a person’s mouth. Is it encouraging? Is it condemning? Is it meant to build up, or does it tear down? The content of our speech reveals a lot about us. What does yours say?
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.