Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Proverbs 4:24
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14 -17
Yesterday I met with a young man and his brother for an early lunch. In the course of conversation, I shared the Gospel with them. As part of that, I told a little bit of my own testimony of a changed life. Before Christ in my life it was not unusual for someone to say to me (after hearing a stream of vituperation usher forth), “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”
I shared with these young men that the first thing that God did in me after I confessed my faith to Him is to shut my foolish foul mouth. He took the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and started to prune, change and clean them up…Quickly. I noticed it within 24 hours – and I also noticed (and still do) that if I slip – I actually wince. It hurts me on the inside – because that is where the Holy Spirit lives. I am grieved. More importantly – He is grieved.
As a mentor of teenagers, I am keenly aware that the guttural language that exists in our public vernacular is very common place. Whether text, Tweet, Snap Chat, Instagram,Facebook etc – Kids AND Adults…drop the F-Bomb as an explanation of anger, joy, affection and exclamation. It is not uncommon to hear defecation called “Holy”, God to be damned and a mother to be called a fornicator….all in the spirit of “normal” communication. This ought not to be. Even folks who call themselves believers and Christians can get caught in this.
But these are just made up words! one might say. Even the Apostle Peter was called a Son a Thunder….wasn’t that because he had a foul mouth?
Well all I can say is this – the Son of Thunder started out as a hot head – and spending time with Jesus cooled him down. If Jesus’ influence can do that for Peter, He can do it for us too. In my own past, I was known to have a temper too…He is still teaching me to chill out. When St. James asked in his book, “Can salt water and fresh water come from the same stream?” The answer is No! Neither should words of life be coming out of the same mouth that spits words of death.
I remember watching a TV special about a mafia guy in a witness protection program. The FBI agent who lived with him said the guy literally could not put a sentence together without a string of F-bombs included. The agent summed it up so well. He said the mafia guy just had “no imagination.” Hah. True That!
Am I guilty of it myself? You betcha! Which is why this grieves me so much. When my mouth (and heart) spews darkness, how does that represent my Lord and Saviour? How does my hypocrisy allow me to “share the Good News” of salvation through Jesus with anyone? So brothers and sisters, if we call yourselves Children of God…WE need to just stop it, because when we misrepresent in deed and word the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are doing damage to the Kingdom of God and undermining Jesus.
How many times have you heard someone say, “If that is a Christian, I want nothing to do with that!” Ugh. I am certain I have… God calls us to “be holy” because He is holy. We are to be ambassadors for Him. We must lean on the strength of the Holy Spirit to control our mouths, our thoughts and our messages we send verbally and through actions. Let’s agree with God, and confess our weaknesses… as He says in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
So I will try to “use my imagination” – and God’s will in heart and mind to turn away from the “common” vernacular of the day…and in doing this I pray that no one will “wince” because of me…and if they do, I will be right back on my knees – asking God to make me white as snow again.
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.
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.