Our culture is coarsening. I see it every day in the way that we talk. The use of perverted language has grown a hundred fold in the last 20 years - and unfortunately - it looks like things are getting worse. It would be one thing to see this among the lost because - well let's just admit it - they are lost. But what I am seeing is that there is also a coarsening in how Christians speak. Things that would have horrified us just 25 years ago - are now becoming more common in everyday conversation. Before you think that I am taking the place of the ultra-righteous who is shocked at all the wicked sinners - I have noticed a coarsening of my own language - and have begun a concerted effort to speak in an acceptable manner before a holy God.
The righteous bring forth what is acceptable with their lips. That means the things they say are acceptable. At this point is would be good to define the word, acceptable. Acceptable to Whom? That is the question we need to answer. Our society seems to think that acceptable to the current standards of society is the rule of the day. By saying this I am not saying that their language equals that of the world, but rather that we set our idea of what is acceptable by a comparison with the world. Let me give you an example of what I am saying. I want to put a disclaimer here - because I will have to use a word that is not acceptable to many to help illustrate my point.
The world's language is completely out of control. The amount of foul language allowed on prime time television and movies is astounding. When you consider that Rhett Butler's, "Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a "expletive," was met with shock and horror in the theaters of the day, you can see that we are out of control. Frank Butler's remarks might not even merit a drop to a PG rating in our day. Certainly his remarks would be shrugged off, even by Christians, in our day. Yet, the sensibilities of that day were horrified by the outrageous language used. Fast forward to today and we learn that men who are considered conservative Christian preachers are using worse language than Frank Butler from our pulpits. Words I would have been reprimanded for saying out loud - are now widely accepted by Christian circles. That is why we need to realize that having our lips bring forth what is acceptable means bringing forth what is acceptable to God.
We should note that in just two verses God says that He is greatly offended by things which are perverse. Here we read that while the godly man speaks what is acceptable - the wicked man says things that are perverse. The idea of being perverted is not just a reference to those who speak sexually perverted things. It goes further to include any way that God's ways are perverted - which means to twist or make them something that they are not. To say that we can come to God based on our own works is to pervert the gospel. To say that God is too loving to judge the wicked is perverting His holiness. So we see that there are ways to pervert the truth God has reveled to us. The wicked speak these things - and thus perversity comes out of their mouths. That is why we not only need to address the foul language that comes from Christians with this verse, but we also need to address the ways people pervert the truth to make the gospel more palatable to the wicked.
May God help us each day to have our language pleasing and acceptable to Him. I will admit that the only reason I began to adopt some words and ways of expressing myself that were unacceptable was to look cool to younger people. This is a horrible reason to let how you speak be coarsened. We should seek to be holy as God is holy. We should have a heart that desires to honor God in every conversation that we have with others. As the Psalmist said, "May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable to the Lord." Then and only then can we know that what our mouths bring forth is godly and acceptable to God Himself.