The power of speech is one of the greatest powers God has given us. With the tongue, men can praise God, pray, preach the gospel, and lead the lost to Christ. What a privilege! What a challenge! But with that same tongue he can tell lies that ruin another person’s reputation or break a person’s heart. The ability to speak words is to possess the ability to influence others and accomplish great tasks. Speech also possesses the ability to tear down, destroy, dishearten, and accomplish much evil. It can be full of strengthening grace or it can be full of venomous poison. It can ennoble one’s character; it can also taint it. When we are careless with our tongues, we are being careless with our souls. Christians are urged to always let their speech be characterized by grace (Col. 4:6). There are several sins that can be committed with the tongue.
GOSSIP. One reason why gossip is so destructive is the rate of speed with which it travels. God warned Israel that they were not to be slanderers among the people (Lev. 19:16). A gossiper is often the source of the destruction of friendships (Prov. 16:28; 17:9). Superior people usually talk about ideas; average people talk about things; little people too often talk about others. Some of God’s great soldiers have been shot in the back with the arrows of rumor, slander, and false charges. “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (Jas. 3:10).
PROFANITY. George Washington said, “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” Television, radio, movies, videos, the printed page, and the internet are filled with the “verbal vomit” of people who have no respect for God or man. What a tragedy! Corrupt speech is not to exude from man’s mouth (Eph. 4:29).
EUPHEMISMS. These are words considered less offensive than profanity; nonetheless, they are just as wrong. Some examples of euphemisms are: gosh, golly, gee, darn, doggone, heck, confounded. Out of ignorance Christians sometimes use these words that are just as offensive to God as profanity. In the judgment we shall give account of our speech (Mt. 12:36). Let us be careful that our speech is pure, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6).