Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
~ Isaiah 6:5 (KJV)
I came across this verse this morning, and I was immediately struck by one of it’s implications on today’s culture.
In this verse, Isaiah has seen God, and the first thing he says is. “Woe is me! … because I am a man of unclean lips…” He doesn’t say, “because I am a man of unclean habits/desires” He says unclean lips. A dirty mouth. When coming into the presence of God, even a righteous man in his time (Isaiah) was undone. Even he was a man of unclean lips. Yet in today’s society, nearly every movie, every new album, or just people you run into on the street will use profanities and curses that would never have been uttered by Isaiah. Yet he was a man of unclean lips. How much more are the people of today, and sadly even professing Christians?
Popular culture today exalts vulgarity and profanity, and looks down on those who don’t use it, claiming that they are somehow wimps if they do not toughen up by swearing and cursing. Many people who are profane of speech may not necessarily look down on those who aren’t, but they view them as somewhat inferior, or childish.
As Christians we are not to be a people of unclean lips. Remember Mark 7:20: “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.” Peter says in 1 Peter 1:15 that we are to be “holy in all manner of conversation:” citing the words of God in verse 16. This is not just a recommendation, it is a command from God. And because it a command from God we are to obey it. The Holy Spirit will help us to this end, but we are to strive to be holy, because He is holy.