1 Corinthians 13:4,5 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
In regards to love, being rude is closely related to some of the other things Paul lists in his description of what love is and is not. Boasting, for example, is a way of acting rude. Being kind, however, cannot coexist with being rude. They are not compatible.
Suffice it to say, a lot has already been covered about this topic, but an specific area for consideration is sarcasm. Some people may think that sarcasm is not unkind. To them it’s just funny and the other person knows they’re joking. Some of us have a real tendency to lean on sarcasm rather than just discussing something and dealing with it. This is actually a lack of respect for others, which can be hurtful. Sometimes, it’s downright belittling.
There’s something deeper behind the source of our sarcasm. Why don’t we go ahead and get up the courage to deal with it instead of taking it out on our loved ones? You’d be hard-pressed to find a truly happy married couple that speaks to each other with rudeness and sarcasm regularly. Even if it’s done in a joking manner, it does affect the person on the other end. If we love them, we won’t treat them rudely or degrade them with our words.
Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Have you ever been around someone who said or did something that just seemed really out of place for who they are or what they are? For instance, a Catholic nun smoking a cigar while drinking a shot of whisky would seem different from what’s expected.
Followers of Jesus are held to a higher standard of conduct when it comes to things that come out of our mouths. Filthy talk, dirty jokes, or crudeness are just out of place among believers. Sometimes we’ll have to be in situations around other people who conduct themselves in such a way, especially if we hope to lead them to Christ, but we need not get in on the dirty jokes.
It’s so tempting, though, to join in when people are having a good time and making inappropriate comments; isn’t it? The choice we end up having to make in such situations is to be what God has called us to be rather than being popular among the people making the jokes. It can be a tough move to make, but it’s always worth it to obey the Lord.
There are several reasons to keep our talk clean, and we won’t go into all of them, but one is that we have so much to be thankful for that we have better ways to spend our time than wallowing in filth. Instead of making crude jokes, give thanks to God. Instead of bringing others down, life them up. The family of God in Jesus Christ is set apart. Our words (or lack thereof) should make that apparent.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
One of the most powerful parts of the human body is really not that big. The tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). We can make someone’s day or we can ruin their day. We can glorify God or we can bring disgrace to Him with the way we speak.
It’s God’s intention that His people would speak life to others, but especially to other believers. The message we send the world with the way we treat others is loud and long-lasting. If we treat each other badly, it doesn’t communicate grace to a world so desperately in need of it. In contrast, when we encourage and build up others, everyone around us can see the grace of God working out in our lives.
Encouraging words are beneficial to the whole body of God in the same way that ugly words hurt the whole body. Our words can either be the poison that leads to a slow death or the medicine that brings healing. If we’re after unity in the family of God, we have to choose our words wisely. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us.
May we all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).