George Carlin, a comedian who died recently, was widely known for a bit he did called, "Seven Words You can't Say on Television." Believe it or not, there are people paid by the networks to moniter the language that is used on television.
What most people don't realize is there is no such taboo list of words in the Bible. What you do find are genral warnings about the use of language. Consider Ephesians 4:29, "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." (NIV)
This message primarily concentrated on what james wrote about our language in James 3:2-12. Our discussion will focus on these verses.
1. Why does James consider taming the tongue such a hard feat to accomplish?
2. James uses 6 illustrations (a bit, a rudder, spark, organs, animals, and water) to make his point about the use of our language. Of the six pictures explain which one stands out to you the most.
3. In the illustrations on the bit, the rudder, and spark James contrasts the smallness of the object controlling something very large. How can words we consider small or incidental control something much larger, like a marriage, parenting, at work?
4. The last three illustrations point out how inconsistent our words can be with our intentions. We think we have a good heart but harsh words can come out of our mouths. Why are we so comfortable with this hypocrisy?
5. Paul says to replace our nasty language with words that build each other up. What are some words that build others up? How can you practice saying these words?
6. In chapter 1 James says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. How can these three habits improve our language?
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
How does language used in the media (music, movies, internet, etc.) impact the way you use language?
CHANGING YOUR MIND
Jas 3:2 "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. " (NIV)
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