Fighting Words

We must watch our language when we are angry.  James wrote, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Many people have damaged or destroyed their reputation because they would restrain their tempers.  Anger acts like an intoxicant that can cause one to lose control and do or say things he typically would not.  Christians must have their tempers under our control, to “be angry and sin not.”  Paul condemned the following types of wrathful language in Colossians 3:8:

  • Anger:  An excitement of the mind and violent passion.  W.E. Vine* suggests that this is a settled or abiding condition of the mind that frequently has a view towards revenge.
  • Wrath:  The outburst resulting from anger inside.
  • Malice:  “A disposition or intent to injure others for gratification of anger” (David Lipscomb).
  • Blasphemy (KJV – railing):  Scornful and derisive language directed at man or God.  “To blame with bitterness” (Lipscomb).
  • Add to this list gossiping and backbiting that is condemned in 2 Corinthians 12:20.  Gossip pushes another person down in order to lift up the speaker.

No one speaks wrathful language in love and it does not edify the hearer.  It tears at a person, as a wild animal would devour his helpless prey.  When we talk with our spouses, parents, children, and friends, we must be especially careful not to allow our familiarity to be a license for such shameful speech.  Consider Proverbs 15:1-2:  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”  The prudent man controls his anger, Proverbs 12:16.

*Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Filthy Language

Christians must put away sinful speech that characterizes the world.  A distinguishing characteristic that may identify us as Christians is pure speech.  The Bible condemns bad language that is not fitting for saints in Ephesians 5:4.

  • Filthiness:  Can be described as obscenity. Opposite of  purity.  Something shameful and dirty.
  • Foolish talking:  Silly talking. Vine’s defines it as dull, foolish and stupid talking.  Trench describes it as the “talk of fools.”  McKnight describes it as language in which one’s neighbor is rendered ridiculous and contemptible, buffoonery.
  • Filthy language (KVJ -coarse jesting):  Obscene or dirty jokes and filthy innuendo.  It is language that is twisted to mean filthy things.

Paul wrote that filthy language is not proper for Christians.  Some make the life of Christ appear foolish by their humor and their speech.  Imagine one who uses filthy language most days then invites someone to a gospel meeting or condemns some false practice using the scriptures.  Filthy language so pollutes the reputation of a person so that even his good speech is tainted.

Peter provides us a clear example of the worldly example of filthy language.  During Jesus’ trial, Peter was in a courtyard with the crowd that arrested Jesus.  Several people recognized Peter and knew that he had been with Jesus.  Peter denied the charge vehemently. After further accusations, he began to curse and swear to prove that he had not been with Jesus, Matthew 26:73-74.  If we curse and swear, what does it say about our relationship to Jesus?

Battling Pornography

There is an excellent set of articles on the challenges pornography presents to Christians striving to live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.” The articles provide a broader definition of pornography that more appropriately describes the lustful images, stories, music and words that surround us. The site is at

Spend time investigating the rest of the site for great articles on a variety of subjects. I would also recommend signing up for their newsletter. It always features a variety of interesting articles.

Forgiving Yourself

Many years ago I had a discussion with a young lady who was debating within herself whether to acknowledge to the congregation things she had done wrong in the past and asking forgiveness from those who knew what she had done. More than that, she wanted the prayers and encouragement of others as she struggled to forgive herself. That struggle to forgive oneself was the subject of the letter that I sent to her and share here with you. If you are struggling to forgive yourself I hope you will find words of encouragement to allow you to free yourself from the hold this sin exerts in your life as it weakens your spiritual strength. If you have obtained forgiveness from God through the gift of His Son, give yourself a wonderful gift of freedom by removing the grip of the past sin so you can fully embrace your future service for God.

First of all, I appreciate your sensitive heart, the courage to face yourself, and the changes already evident in your life. You are a fine example to others and I do not think making this confession will diminish it in the least. On the contrary, I think it may open opportunities for you to help others in a similar situation. Though God does not want us to sin, I think that He is able to use our experience to help heal the lives and pain of others in a way that others cannot do so easily. I think I have told you before but when I was in high school and college I did not drink. I wish I could say that it was because of my dedication to God but more often there were other things in my past that created a strong aversion to alcohol and its results. Whatever the motivation, I am thankful for the result. However, when talking with someone who is having a drinking problem or other problems to which alcohol contributes, I can encourage them from the scripture but I cannot relate to them as one who has been there. However, there are other problems with which I can be very helpful because of my personal experience. God says, “Behold, I make all things new,” and he will be able to make something new from your experience.

Your confession statement was well worded and very moving. From your email I know that you believe God has forgiven you and, based on His promises, you are correct. However, since you have written this document and revised it on several occasions I assume that it has been on your mind for a long time. If this is troubling you and you cannot find peace without bringing it before the congregation, I think you have the answer you are seeking. If you feel that you should have said something in the past, you should say something now, I am sure that you will feel that you need to say something in the future–until you do. Your statement explains well why you have waited to make such a statement.

It breaks my heart that you are still struggling with your guilt and have problems forgiving yourself. You have already made the hardest decision–facing yourself and your sin and making changes. Sometime when you pray, thank God for the guilt and shame that moved you to repent and leave a path headed to destruction. Your past will not define your life and you should not look at yourself through the lens of your past. There are many young Christian women who have been down the same road you traveled who are fine teachers, loving wives and mothers, and good examples for young women. Many young women at the church look up to you and, knowing what you have been through and the changes you have made, I would, without any reservation, feel that they chose well when you are listed among their role models.

Sometimes we hold onto guilt and have problems forgiving ourselves because we feel that we are letting ourselves off too easily. Holding guilt allows us to punish ourselves and, when reaching some spiritual summit, reproach ourselves saying, “You’re not so good.  I remember when you…” It is perfectly fine to let go of your guilt. Acknowledge that your inward pain has been your punishment and prison for past sins and give yourself a pardon. Forgiveness is the greatest thing you can give others and yourself. Grieve your sins, the embarrassment you feel/felt, the sorrow for letting others and yourself down, the actions you regret–yes grieve them–then let them go. You have punished yourself well enough–I think anyone could say that you have not let yourself off easily–you have the right to free yourself and enjoy true peace and happiness. You will never forget what you have done, but when you forgive yourself, it finds a place in your past that can only give you a small tinge of pain when it is brought to mind, but it will not bully and berate you anymore. This I can tell you from experience.

OMG: Does Not Mean “O Majestic God”

Guest Post from Edwin Crozier ( – great site to visit)

I need to share a concern with my fellow Christian Facebookers, MySpacers, Pleonasters, Twitterers, texters and other social media types. “OMG!” doesn’t mean “O Majestic God” or “O Magnificent God.” It is not a means by which God is honored. It doesn’t even mean “oh my goodness.” When people read that, they see and hear in their minds the phrase, “Oh my God.”

Please recall that under the Old Covenant one of God’s 10 laws was, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). God’s name was to be held in honor or God would curse His people (Malachi 2:2).

The New Covenant demonstrates the same principle of honor for God. I Timothy 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” In Revelation 7:12, the angels, elders and living creatures cried out, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

I’m seeing a trend that concerns me among Christians online. More frequently I see Christians use texting shorthand for taking God’s name in vain—“OMG.” I just want to ask you to think before you type that shorthand on your computer. If you typed the longhand phrase, “Oh my God,” would it be appropriate? Would you think this use of God’s name was intended to honor Him, to give Him glory and praise?

Certainly there are times when saying “Oh my God” is appropriate. We have songs that use that phrase. As we pray, we may praise God by calling out to Him, “Oh my God.” We are recognizing that He is our God; we are not. We are recognizing that He is our God; money is not. We are recognizing that He is our God; idols are not.

However, when someone has said something surprising or said something that really resonates with us and we want to accentuate it simply by typing, “OMG! That’s amazing,” are we really calling on God, honoring Him? Were we even addressing Him? Or were we just taking His name in vain because it was so easy and every one else does it?

God’s name is not meant to register our surprise, our shock, our amazement. God’s name is meant to be held in honor, to bring glory to Him, to address Him.

Please think about this before you type your next update. Let’s honor God in our speech and our online posts. He deserves it.

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