29a Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.
This is a prohibition against bad speech. The Greek word for “corrupt” denotes that which is putrid, rotten and hence corrupting, defiling and injurious. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
Corrupt communication includes many kinds of bad speech, such as bad language, vulgar and profane exclamations, foolish talking, filthy conversation, unprofitable remarks, profane oaths, lies, false witnessing, angry utterances, provocative words, demeaning statements, hurtful words, curses, threatening, abusive language, ridicule, gossips, slandering, false accusations, proud and arrogant expressions, boasting, flattery, misleading advice, false teaching, unwholesome and filthy songs, etc.
Corrupt communication can easily occur; it is a common malady even in churches and among Christians. Not only do new Christians fall prey to it, even believers who are well advanced in sanctification have been overtaken by the sin of evil communication. We must always be watchful against falling into this unsavoury conduct. Since our bad speech is an expression of our defiled thoughts and feelings, we must strive to cleanse our hearts and minds constantly, and to keep them from being defiled again.
It is also important that we avoid the company of men and women who engage in evil communication. Those who spend time communing with people who are unguarded in their speech will soon be like them. Those who read unwholesome materials or entertain themselves with profane shows will easily learn their bad language and mannerism. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
Godly men will be cautious of what they say. They will pray to God to help them guard their speech. If we learn to control our tongue, we can avoid many embarrassing situations. We can also avoid many quarrels, as well as the poisoning and even severing of friendships. Let us make David’s prayer in Psalm 19:14 ours as well: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”