Purity of Speech vs. Freedom of Speech
Updated: May 1
Civil society is fast becoming uncivilized. One of the evidences of this is seen in the unraveling of common decency in the area of our speech. Speaking and displaying vulgar words is being defended as part of the freedom of speech. The “f” word is being used more and more to make a political point or to shock people with your point of view. You can see it on placards and flags, T-shirts, and bumper stickers all around our communities. All of these foul words are defended by the appeal to freedom of speech. Our constitution’s bill of rights does guarantee freedom of speech. However, I do not believe our founders had such low and demeaning, and vulgar language in mind.
Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior have a much higher document than the constitution as their authority. We call it the Bible, God’s written revelation to man. We align ourselves under its authority and follow the teachings, the principles, and instructions it issues. The Bible teaches us: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph. 4:29). Also, we are instructed by Jesus that we will have to give an account for such words in Matt. 12: 36,37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Paul describes a godless society in Rom. 1:10-18. One of the characteristics of those who do not fear God is that their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness (Rom. 1:14). The psalmist prayed: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
If we call ourselves a Christian, we are called to live under the authority of God’s Holy Word. Clearly and unmistakably our Lord expects His children to honor Him with purity in our speech.