Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
The other day I was shocked to hear a phrase come out of my mouth that I have never before spoken and none of my friends ever speak. I was conversing with my mother and had gotten rather wound up about whatever it was we were talking about--I can't even remember what it was now. I only remember being horrified at what I nearly said. Why would I use such a phrase.
The incident set me thinking about the language I use and the language I try not to use. Why are phrases such as "Oh my gosh" and "for Pete's sake" acceptable? It's very obvious what these phrases are substitutes for; and using phrases like this likely led to my utterance the other day. The problem had nothing to do with exposure and everything to do with attitude. I've spent my lifetime trying to determine what is "evil talk" so that I can avoid it. I completely missed the real point of the verse: building up and giving grace! I wonder how my life and language would be different if instead of wondering if something was "ok to say" I wondered if it was "graceful" to say and strove to say the things that built up and gave grace--on purpose! Perhaps it would be a good exercise for a week!