The Antidote for Verbal Poison
I recently got away to a little place I favor for its beauty
and relative solitude as much as for the fishing I do there.
But the tranquility was soon shattered when a group of
families arrived and pitched a tent in a clearing on the other side of the
small river. What ensued was a peace-shattering, profanity-filled verbal
One particular individual was the worst offender, releasing
a continuous stream of loud utterances so vulgar they would probably be
censored on cable television. There were several toddler- to elementary-age
And the person venting this verbal poison?
It wasn’t a burly, disheveled oaf of a man. It was a young
mother with three small children. They heard all of this. Some of it was even
directed at them.
The Bible confirms that the tongue is “full of deadly
poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse
men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise
and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:8-10, NIV; see Matthew
I thought of this as I unwillingly listened to this mother
shout obscenities at her children. And I thought how the poison being poured
into these young lives was damaging them — and might eventually produce
carbon copies of their mom.
The Bible says, “This should not be.”
Of course, the prime solution to this is salvation. But even
many Christians have let the culture negatively influence the way they speak.
(The James passage above was written to Christian Jews.)
If a believer’s words are degenerating, the Word is the
solution. More time reading and thinking about God’s Word will positively
influence anyone’s verbiage. “Set your hearts on things above,” Paul said, and
“rid yourselves of … filthy language” (Colossians 3:1,8).
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is
any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these
things” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
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