"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."
When my radio alarm clicked on this morning, the program presenters were having a conversation about how a new law was going to be passed in Pakistan banning certain cusswords from being used in text messages, and how outraged Australians would be if such a bann was enforced here. Their main point of contention was that Aussies love to swear and as a free-speech country we should be able to say whatever we want.
This point of view makes me sad not only because the Word says we definately cannot say whatever we want (Matt. 12:36), but because it shows a scary lack of understanding of what is really at the heart of the matter.
Jesus tells us that the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart, so what does it say about our spiritual state when we use language that makes grandmothers blush and little children gasp? There is a reason that He commands us to guard our hearts - it contains the wellspring of life, the very essence of who we are. And the words we speak not only communicate thoughts and sentiments, but life and death. Far from being accepted symbols of culture or personal expressions of individuality, what swearing really is is a verbal indicator of moral decay.
OK. Not meaning to get too heavy here! So lets backtrack a little...
If everyone could see inside of you and see the health of your spirit, what would you want them to see? Would you act (and talk) differently if you knew that everything you do is broadcasting who you are underneath? Well, our speach is doing this, even if it is a gradual process - because, lets face it, some people are very skilled at wearing masks and hiding behind perceptions. But the truth is that all people eventually reveal who they are at a heart level by what comes from their mouths. In those unguarded moments that we love to push aside with a "just kidding" or a "no offense" excuse, we show the world the side of ourselves that God knew all along.
So we see that as much as parents and teachers try to enforce one, a blanket rule of 'No Swearing' is never going to fix the problem entirely. The root of the issue is much deeper, is much slower and is more significant.
God is, and always has been, after our heart. To grow in us a transformed spirit that dwells on "... whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute... anything of excellence and worthy of praise" (Phil. 4:8). When we are focused on those things, swearing seems like such an unnecessary and undesirable response, doesn't it?