Mind Your Language

July 31, 2020
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Exodus 20:7a – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (NKJV)

Many years ago, I worked for a pipeline construction company. We built oil and gas pipelines in many provinces in Canada as well as in several states in the USA. We lived in a house trailer or mobile home, and the office that I worked in was also a trailer. A number of our employees, superintendents, foremen, and office managers were on the payroll year-round. As we moved from place to place and as new projects were started, a great number of the workers would follow us around, but we would also hire a number of local people. When we started a new project, the employees would come into the office to sign up. Quite often, we would have as many as four hundred people on the payroll. One time, I heard one fellow say to a new employee, "When you go into the office, mind your language, because the office manager does not like it when you swear."

To be sure, most of the people we hired were good, hard-working people, but sometimes the language of some of them was rather colourful. It appears that word got around that I didn't like it when they used foul language, and when they came into my office, they didn't.

It appears from Paul's letters to the new Christians in Ephesus and Colossae that there were many things that needed to be brought to their attention. They were to pray for spiritual wisdom. They were told that Christ was the cornerstone of their faith. They were to walk in unity and in love. He also gave them some good personal advice as to how they should behave:

Colossians 3:8 – But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (NKJV)

I have to be honest with you: I did not try to convert anyone; I did not personally evangelize on a one-to-one basis. But it was well known through my words and actions that in my office, I did not tolerate filthy language or anyone using the name of the Lord in vain.

If we are in situations where those around us use filthy language, let's pray for God's guidance as to how we can be a witness for purity of speech.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we are confronted with circumstances that are not right or proper. We ask that You will give us the grace and the wisdom to choose the right words to kindly admonish those by whom we are offended. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.


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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so, Joel.


    Good advice, thank you and blessings Joel!


    Joel;
    Well said. God bless.


    A good one, Joel. Thank you. Lead by example always the best policy.
    Take care and Keep Healthy.


    Amen Joel. I found when l worked at the Post Office/Hardware people behaved themselves much better as well!


    Thanks, Joel. I’ve had similar experiences, people apologizing for using bad language. I also have family members who can control it when I’m there, which makes me wonder why they can’t control it all the time!


    Thank you for your message today, Joel. I despise foul language and am often growled at for complaining. At our drop-in centre they have learned at least to apologize and do their best to clean it up–until he next time. Stay safe in this strange time.


    Dear Joel,
    That’s highly commendable that your reputation for not tolerating bad language was known and accepted. Even our actions such as this are a testimony without words.


    Well-constructed devotional,
    Timely, that is always appropriate, to be mindful of words one chooses to use. Your workplace reference is a reminder as followers of Jesus that being the salt of the earth is 24/7. The scripture reference is more light shining on the pathway.


    Thanks Joel, especially for your prayer. I have made a copy of these words:
    We ask that You give us the grace and the wisdom to choose the right words to kindly admonish those by whom we are offended. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
    Thanks so much!


    Hi Joel,
    Thanks for your message. It reminded me of my husband. In the 70’s we had a small furniture store and carpet business along with the funeral home. One day when he was helping unload one of the trucks, the drivers said to him “You must be a Christian”. He was surprised but answered in the affirmative. The driver said – you never curse or swear no matter how awkward or heavy the load. It brought the lesson home to us both that actions speak louder than words. Thanks for the memory.


    Greetings Joel,
    Thank you for this very good devotional. Oh, how it took me back to the days when I was bookkeeping for an oil company in the desolated far north and many times had to close my ears to the foul language of the men conversing in the office. Occasionally I had the courage to rebuke a fellow but would face backlash for doing it, so mainly kept quiet. May the Lord in His grace and kindness, help those who use bad language to instead use their tongue for words of praise to our loving Lord.
    Blessings for your treasured contributions to our daily devotionals.
    (B.C.)


    Dear Joel
    I appreciate this devotion today. I have a problem with people using God’s name in vain. I remember one time someone came out with it and I stopped what I was doing, the guy asked why I stopped. so, I said, Oh I thought you were starting to pray about the problem. He never said those words around me again.
    I spoke about this subject in church a few years ago. Strange how it seems like they all come out with it like there is nothing wrong, even Christians.
    Bothers me but I like this devotion and it has helped me.
    Thanks again, and God bless


    I look forward to your devotions. Thank you. Today’s reminded me of an overheard conversation between my son and several of his friends, when they were teens. I too, won’t tolerate bad language, and although I’m not naive enough to think that he never used it when around his friends, he counselled them not to use it at our home. They respected me (and him) enough to keep their language pure.
    Today, the constant public use of OMG makes me cringe, and my grandchildren know not to say that unless they are truly referencing God in prayer. My reply when people see me cringe at bad language, is that ‘we have so many more descriptive words that we can use, it is lazy and disrespectful to use foul ones’.


    Your devotional reminded me of a discovery I made working in the prison. I too was not used to rough language around me and thus I wasn’t surprised not to hear any when I was teaching my inmates to catalogue the library. One day a friend of theirs came in and began talking as soon as he entered saying Fxxxx this and that. My whole crew looked up at him, reproachfully, and he stopped dead in his tracks. It was then I realized that they too talked like this when I wasn’t around but without saying anything, they had cleaned up their language for me, though I had never mentioned it.
    You are right, Joel, that language should make it clear that we are a follower of Christ. Yay for walking in His footsteps today.


    Good evening Joel,
    Between the heat and staying away from the Virus, it’s staying in the house time. In your devotion you hit on something is so important. Every morning I ask the Lord to making me a blessing to someone each day, and if we show a Christian testimony, we don’t even know when we have reached someone.
    Forcing a testimony on someone just doesn’t work. I find the way I “talk” on FB often gives me an opening that might be a special blessing. So thank you for your words today and I look forward to your next words. God bless you real good and stay well.
    (California)


    Sometimes simply the payer changes the situation.
    Thanks for this.


    Thank you for this message today. You always have a message that speaks to my heart.


    Thank you, Joel for the meaningful devotional.
    Keep writing.

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