I am told that the common language of many Christians is the same as that of the age in which we live. This is hard for me to believe; and yet it is not hard for me to believe. It is hard for me to believe in the sense that should someone tell me that a close friend had just robbed a bank, or hijacked a plane, or was found to be married to seven women at the same time; it would be hard for me to believe.
It is not hard to believe when I consider the media, whether news, entertainment, or sports, or music, that Christians expose themselves to; or when I consider that Christians often “go with the flow” of their environments. It is not hard to believe when Christians seldom think of holiness, usually do not read and know the Bible, and typically do not see themselves as on this planet to be God’s Presence for the glory of God and the blessing of others.
Consider Paul’s words: “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience,” Ephesians Chapter 5. [Italics mine.]
In the above passage, profane language is classified with sexual impurity and idolatry. Do we actually believe that language does not matter and that we can engage in profane language with impunity? Do we believe that our words, being products of our hearts, do not affect our relationship with Christ and others – whether for good or evil?
Solomon writes that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Jesus says that the words He speaks are spirit and life. These statements are not about “name it and claim it”, they are about the gift of language, the power of language, and about us being called to live as sons and daughters of the holy and living God, speaking words of life as He speaks words of life.
Francis Schaeffer said that one reason he read the Bible was to refresh and cleanse his mind from the world/age that he was exposed to on a daily basis; when we engage in profanity, whether in word or image, it is as if we are cleansing our minds from the Bible. In Romans Chapter 12 we are told to be transformed through the renewing of our minds; our minds can hardly be renewed when they invite profanity into the Temple to play the court jester, philosopher, musician, artist, and theater troupe. Nor can our minds be renewed when they are engaged in spin, slander, and anger.
The Apocalypse portrays two groups of people, those with the mark of the Beast and those with the Name of the Father; they are internal, written on minds and hearts; being internal they manifest themselves through two opposing languages, two languages at war with each other. One is a language of light and life; the other a language of deceitful darkness, impurity, and profanity; one a language of transparency; the other of smoke and mirrors. One language hallows the graces, mercies, and gifts of God – such as marriage; the other language flies the banner of desecration, in fact its leading battering-ram word is one which profanes a sacred expression in marriage. How can we think little or nothing of profanity? How can we adopt it?
Which is our mother tongue: the language of the Lamb or the language of the Beast?