“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
Ephesians 5:4 ESV
Man do I struggle with that, especially when you look at the Greek meanings of those words…
Neither filthiness – Αισχροτης· Any thing base or vile in words or acts.
Foolish talking – Μωρολογια· Scurrility, buffoonery, ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt.
Nor jesting – Ευτραπελια· Artfully turned discourses or words, from ευ , well or easily, and τρεπω , I turn; words that can be easily turned to other meanings; double entendres; chaste words which, from their connection, and the manner in which they are used, convey an obscene or offensive meaning. It also means jests, puns, witty sayings, and mountebank repartees of all kinds.
Which are not convenient – Ουκ ανηκοντα· They do not come up to the proper standard; they are utterly improper in themselves, and highly unbecoming in those who profess Christianity.
But rather giving of thanks – Ευχαριστια· Decent and edifying discourse or thanksgiving to God. Prayer or praise is the most suitable language for man; and he who is of a trifling, light disposition, is ill fitted for either. How can a man, who has been talking foolishly or jestingly in company, go in private to magnify God for the use of his tongue which he has abused, or his rational faculties which he has degraded?
Wow – that’s the stuff we should work to root out in our lives.
You know, I don’t need any help at all swearing and using my mouth for bafoknery and teasing.
This verse is a great reminder about the high standard God has for our words.
I have so much room to grow here!
I make rude and crude jokes, I lighten my mood in a frivolous way, and I really have an old nature that will balance on a tight rope of crudeness, shameful humor in order to get a rise or laugh out of people. Reading this really struck me as pretty compelling. THat if I am operating this way, I WILL NOT Inherit the kingdom of heaven!
I also read the way that C.S. Lewis talked in “Screwtape letters” about jokes, that they are useful in making people lose their sense of shame.
I have partaken in this evil, I allow myself to do this, perhaps not in the manner that is completely destitute and deplorable, but I do partake.
So again, the response which I should take, is THANKFULNESS. A sober minded thankfulness to God, yet a real honesty about “where my mouth has been” throughout the week will lead to a step closer to holiness.
So lord, please make my crude humor, and EVERYTHING that this Ephesians 5:4 points out, be offensive to me, restore the sensistivity I once had to the things that are dirty and crude.