Thursday, April 18, 2013

Don't Say 'Stupid'

Nothing distresses me more than to hear a small child use swear words. Oh, my heart aches when I hear a child who hasn't even begun to grasp the English language and doesn't even know what they are saying use crude, vulgar words which they have learned from the adults in their life. Because of that, and the fact that we wanted to raise our children in a Christian home, we were very careful to teach our children to speak properly. Not only did we not want them to use swear words, but we also didn't want them to use slang or unkind words either. 

When Benjamin, our oldest, was around two we explained that bad words make God and His angels sad, so we don't use them. He gladly accepted that explanation and I quickly forgot what I had said until several months later when I slipped up. I had done something, I can't even remember what now, but it wasn't anything important and I said out loud 'boy, that was stupid'. Benjamin stopped what he was doing and came right up to me. He pulled on my pant leg and looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said "Mama, we don't say stupid, it makes God and Jesus and the angels sad."

Ouch! That was a correction. I felt terrible that I had been careless with my words and my little boy knew it. I asked him to forgive me and then we prayed together. You might think that saying 'stupid' isn't that important, and maybe it isn't, but we were trying to be so careful to raise our children to be thoughtful, caring people that we tried to be careful with our words too. 

The Bible tells us that our words are important. Proverbs 18:21 says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." We either bless or curse with our tongue. Our words shape us as a person because "what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart" (Matthew 15:18). If you really want to know what a person is like, listen to what they say. A kind person will speak kind, loving words but one who is self centred and lacks self control will speak quickly without thinking and doesn't temper their words. Proverbs 12:18 tells us "rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

I think the verse that is my reminder to watch what I say is Matthew 12:36 which says "I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak." God is going to hold us accountable for our careless words: words that didn't need to be said, words spoken in anger, hurtful words and words that make "God and Jesus and the angels sad."

Ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

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