Off-color jokes and dirty stories have no place in the Christian life

Published 8:30 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I grew up in a home where nasty language was used at the kitchen table and in every conversation. When I became an adult, it was natural to communicate the same way. I’ve become a Christian and friends tell me that I should clean up my mouth. Can this habit be broken? — T.H.

Dear T.H.: Each person has a tongue and a voice. These instruments of speech can be used destructively or employed constructively. When we become followers of Jesus, He sends His Holy Spirit to help us moment by moment, word by word. We should say nothing that we wouldn’t wish to say in the presence of the Lord; we should do nothing that we wouldn’t do in His presence.
Off-color jokes and dirty stories have no place in the Christian life. The Scripture warns about evil communications that corrupt good manners. The Bible says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place” (Ephesians 5:4, ESV).
People can use their tongues to slander, complain, quarrel, and to spew vile thoughts; or they can bring their tongues under the control of God’s Spirit. When a person’s tongue slips because of bad habits, the Christian will be convicted. God will purify the tongue and put wholesome speech in the mouths of those who seek Him through obedience to His Word.
When a person recognizes sinful behavior, it indicates the presence of the Spirit of God moving in their heart, convicting them to make things right with God. The Bible teaches that a man who can control his tongue can control his whole personality. Many Christians long to know God’s will and His will is for us to have disciplined minds and tongues. “Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10, ESV).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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