My Mom, a Bar of Soap and Clean Talk

My parents weren’t really the “let the consequences teach her” kind of people. They were more the “let’s give her some consequences” types. But since I could always count on what my actions would get me, I had the ability to weigh whether or not what I had in mind was worth the pain. Those calculations spared me a lot of by-product. 

If we siblings could choose, we would have chosen mom over dad any day for said by-product. She was much softer. However, my mom surprised me one day by her creativity in going off the usual form of discipline. 

She opted for the sink.

I have no idea what word I said, but I recall clearly the awful sudsy taste on my palate for a long time afterwards. 

If she were alive today, I’m pretty sure she’d want to take some people by the scruff of the neck, stick their face into the sink and scrub out their mouths. 

Now, if you have jumped to conclusions about me criticizing one political side or another, halt. I’m thinking of us. You and me. Because that’s who Paul is talking to in Ephesians 5 and he has a mouthful to say to us. 

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. 

So I did a little looking and it seems “filthiness” refers to obscenities, dishonoring and base talking. 

“Foolish talk,” or “silly talk” in some translations, is godless speaking. It stems from moral deficiency.

While crude joking turns speech into something bad.  

These aren’t fitting, or rather are “out of place” for us who represent Jesus to an out of place world. It’s part of who we once were, but not who we are now. Such talk is incongruent with our new nature.

I admit. My first thoughts when I read the verse, condemned words of others, those fill in the blanks on social media, forms of entertainment and yes, the political scene from every side. There are a lot of nasty words happening out there, from believers and unbelievers alike. They’re slung through the air like missiles. A whole bunch of cringeworthy crusty crud-mud is flying out from a whole-lotta places coming from a whole bunch-a people. 

But the Apostle Paul isn’t talking to all the other people out there, many who don’t even know Christ. They belong to another master. Rather, he’s addressing the dissonance between what you and I say, and who we are in Christ.  

In a sense, any disparity should haul us up to the sink and clean our palates. Paul commands a different kind of speech, washed and pure.  

“…instead let there be thanksgiving.”

This should characterize us. 

Like a bar of soap, thanksgiving when rolled off our tongues, leaves no room for filth. 

My mom would approve, and let me tell you from one who knows, it leaves a better aftertaste too. 



*2nd Photo by Marco Albuquerque on Unsplash

15 Replies

  1. Jack Boehner Reply

    Great article Sylvia! I can still taste my Grandmother’s homemade lye soap. This reminds and encourages me
    to remember to set myself apart from worldly discourse. Thanks!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      At least ours was store bought! Thank Jack, I appreciate the comment. I need to remind myself as well.

  2. Elece Reply

    Fun article thanks! Good word that we must watch our own language instead of pointing fingers.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      That summed it up nicely, Elece! Thanks. It is just always easy to find myself criticizing others, while blind to my own dishonoring speech. I appreciate your comment so very much.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Elece! So true. It’s just so easy to point fingers rather than humbly consider God is talking first to me.
      Appreciate your comment!

  3. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Amen! Ms. Sylvia. Your words struck home ma’am; as in the past, I’ve been guilty of diving headlong right into the cesspool of verbal assaults. I try to bridle my tongue much more than I use to, but there are still times when I realize the Holy Spirit needs to pull back on the bit hard and not give me my head. Too often, even we proclaimed Christians seem to want to take on the role of judge and prosecutor. Those are not our jobs; they’re God’s. Our job, simply put, is to love like Jesus did. While we are in this world, and its filth can easily surround us, we need to remind ourselves we are not OF this world. God’s blessings ma’am for this powerful reminder.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks again for the encouragement J.D. You are right. We need to remind ourselves we are not OF this world. It is far too easy for me to forget to love like Jesus did. Thank you for your comment!

  4. Trudy Reply

    In light of the political climate today I can’t help but think of it when I read your article. Great reminder to watch what I say and how I say it. Second reminder I got was when I read Titus 3. “to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility.” What a different climate we would have if we all lived these truths.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment. You are so right, Titus 3 is convicting and certainly would change a lot of stuff today if we truly grasped it and followed. Thanks!

  5. RJ Thesman Reply

    Ivory soap was the least offensive. Obviously, I know this from personal experience.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Ha! That must be it then. I remember we didn’t use Ivory and I wanted to so badly because the commercial said it floated. I never realized there were other good reasons as well. Thanks!

  6. Eloise (Harder) Jordan Reply

    I couldn’t help but smile as I read your blog. I think your mother and mine did some interacting on many subjects! Yes, there are many verses in the Bible reminding us how to speak, you have given us a good start.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Oh the memories! I’m pretty sure our mom’s had plenty to talk about! Thank your for your comment!

  7. Debbie Wilson Reply

    Sylvia, I appreciate this. To guard my mouths, I feel I need to guard my ears and mind. Profanity punctuates so many ads, writings, and conversations. Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to clean our minds and mouths.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you. I feel the same way. It is so prevalent in society and it seeps into Christian culture as well. I need to keep a focus on thanksgiving instead.