Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Do you think this is about swear words and foul language or about slander, gossip and an impure heart? It’s probably about the first, definetly about the second. I know folks who abhor swearing but will gladly speak ill of someone or be more than willing to take their personal inventory for them when they aren’t around. I also know people who use foul language and rarely speak ill of someone. Who’s closer to God?
We get wrapped up in appearances and legalistic BS and miss the lesson Christ left us, we miss the message from God on what it’s like to be godly.
Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary says “Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit.”
Slander and gossip are the antithesis of what God calls us to because it comes from a proud heart that’s not in touch with what God wants – like the Pharisees.
Love, humble respect and gentle guidance are the way forward.