To my dog, woof means ‘yes’. He never lies to me. I can always trust that he means what he says. His innocence is profound.
Our words have power. They have the power to do good or to do evil. Among the teachings of Jesus are these few words about how we are to speak in the world. As we mature in our relationship with Jesus, we will change our vocabulary and clean up our act. We no longer have to swear that we are telling the truth. Our yes becomes simply ‘yes’ and we trust God to maintain our reputation as a truth teller.
Matthew 5:34-37 New International Version (NIV)
34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one
Here is a powerful tool to distinguish between true worshipers and idolaters. Listen to their words. If there is boasting, swearing, anger, controversy, arguing, etc., we know that comes from the evil one.
Knowledge of good and evil
Ever since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, people have been swearing, lying, and generally using words in an evil manner. This contamination of our language permeates all aspects of society. It is very difficult to recognize this as a baby Christian. With maturity comes behavioral improvements, especially in our words.
The fullness of time hypothesis points to classical Greek civilization as the origin of drama in literature and theater. With the spread of Hellenism throughout the western world, civilization became imprinted with drama as a regular past time. Here is a safe place to vicariously experience good and evil and to follow the outcomes of destruction and damage caused by various sins without actually suffering the consequences ourselves. So we watch television drama and learn about murder, adultery, greed, theft, etc. This helps us become wise as serpents.
Matthew 10:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Listen for the bleeps of PG 13 movies. This is Hollywood’s attempt to protect our children from exposure to evil. As the ratings increase in maturity, the words that are from the evil one are present.
Some movies are harmful to me because I have become sensitive to the evil. However, I respect everyone’s right to follow their own conscience when choosing their entertainment.
James, the brother of Jesus
James expounds on the nature of our tongue and how much evil it contains. Learn James Chapter 3 in its entirety and you will have ample advice on how to use your tongue.
James 3:8-10 King James Version (KJV)
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
James 5:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.