In November 2008, the US Supreme Court debated the constitutional limits on foul language. The Federal Communications Commission cited a national broadcasting company for allowing two entertainers to use two common profanities on the air. The broadcasting company argued that “fleeting” profanity that was not blatantly sexual should not be punished. Others countered that it is our duty to protect children from such language.
The issue of inappropriate language was not up for debate in the church at Ephesus. Paul instructed believers that one of the ways they were to respond to the blessings of redemption and being made alive in Christ was by guarding their speech (4:29).
Paul did not want them to be characterized by their old way of living, which included corrupt and unwholesome speech, profanity, malicious gossip, slander, or anything that injures another and sparks dissension. Instead, he wanted the Ephesians through their words to “impart grace” and encouragement, as the need arose.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we want the words that flow from our hearts and out of our mouths to be a life-giving spring. And may all who hear our words receive a blessing.