Any godly father who understands spiritual things knows that when urging his sons to have godly hearts, he must also address in almost the same breath how they use their mouths. Jesus taught us the truth that it is out of the mouth that we know the condition of the heart of a man. He told us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Therefore when we take the time to examine the things that are coming out of our mouths, we will be able to better know what is lodging in our hearts.
The father frankly speaks to his sons about the need to put away a deceitful mouth and devious speech. The first term here about a deceitful mouth has to do with perversion and deceitfulness. It is a Hebrew term used to describe a person who speaks without any integrity in God's eyes. He would rather speak deceptive things than the truth, immoral things rather than moral. Scripture speaks of such a man as an evil, worthless man in Proverbs 6:12.
Our society is growing more and more coarse all the time. We know and see this through the language that we hear in the public square - and from the entertainment industry. I may sound old fashioned, but I remember speaking with my mouth about how an entire theater gasped in horror when Frank Butler cursed at the end of "Gone With the Wind." It was a ground breaking moment, but unfortunately was a harbinger of things to come. Now, what that one actor said is common fare during prime time TV and is considered nothing to us today. The language that is spewed at all hours of the day should shock us, but unfortunately we just yawn at the spiritual depravity of our day and move on with life.
The only way back to a godly, moral society is to rear a generation of sons who no longer consider such things commonplace. Unfortunately for us, one of the problems is the current attitude of the church.
We have moved from a cursing society to a cursing church. The rave of the day among some of our youth is the rise of conservative, evangelical preachers who litter their sermons with language that at one time made the world gasp in theaters. This development, while seeming to be really cool to some of our youth - will only result in a continued increase in those whose mouth is revealing a heart filled with perversion. Some may balk at this assessment, but when we see that the godly father commands his son to put such a mouth away - can this be too far off from the truth?
The second command of the father is for the son to put "devious" speech far from him. "Luz" is the Hebrew word used here and it means to be crooked or perverse. The idea here is to deviate from God. When our speech deviates from God's standards and God's ways - and in all honesty, from God's Word, we are headed in a very dangerous pathway. Knowing that some will read this wondering just what good, godly speech is - and what words that we should avoid - I want to comment very pointedly about such things.
Our current crop of curse words are focused on some very interesting things. A couple of curse words deal with defacation. When we read in the Old Testament that God required Israel to take a shovel and cover up their waste - it only goes without saying that speech that uses such words on a regular basis probably ought to be buried as well. The other more common curse words seem to center around a crass way of speaking about the reproductive process. Once again it is fascinating that God's commentary about this is that the marriage bed is holy and that sexual relations between a man and woman should remain in their own bed - and not in the common conversation of society. Some will scoff at such statements - but I would argue with them as to what kind of biblical admonition encourages such speech? Paul writes to the Ephesians, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification." Wholesome words are those words that are not rotten - and since God does not encourage worldliness, but greatly discourages it in 1 John 2:15-17 - we might also do well in discouraging speech that far more resembles the world than resembles the Word.
Fathers, we need to encourage a new generation of young men who speak so as to please God in all that they say. Their hearts need to glorify God with what dwells in them - and their mouths need to reveal the godliness of their lives by speaking those words that are good for edification according to the need of the moment for those who are listening. It would bless our society to see men who once again value a common-speak that does not offend or shock - but that blesses and encourages.