Those big home improvement warehouse stores are incredible repositories of unsolicited free information. There are people who frequent those places who will find you there, and they will feel compelled to tell you stuff you never really wanted to know about the difficulties they encountered in some project about which you have no personal interest or involvement. They especially love telling do-it-yourself horror stories. They will share intimate details about the impact of their latest project disaster on their marital relations, their financial portfolio, and their gastrointestinal wellbeing, all in the hope of sparing you from similar catastrophes. They will also explain, at no extra charge, that the thing you’re there to purchase will never work, and tell you how it contributed to totally wrecking their favorite power tool.
These people will step in to help you, like it or not. I refer to them as volunteer Home Store Social Workers (HSSWs). One of them ambushed me among the HVAC air filters once, because I had made two critical mistakes. First, I stopped walking and stood still for over 10 seconds. Then I made matters worse by allowing one of those frowns to creep into my face that normal people would simply interpret as a guy trying to decide what to buy. The HSSW observes the same expression and thinks, “Thank God I’m here, because that guy looks like a total idiot, and he’s liable to kill himself if I don’t intervene.” So, without wasting time on trivial things like introductions, he springs into action.
HSSW (pointing to the air filter in front of me): “You’re not gonna get that one are you?”
Me: “Well, I’m just checking them out, and haven’t decided which one I’m going with yet.”
HSSW: “Well, you’re gonna need to get that hypoallergenic one over there.”
Me: “Really? I usually just buy whichever one is cheaper.”
HSSW: “No, no, no… you can’t be thinking like that. There’s junk floatin’ around in the air these days that’ll flat-out kill you.”
Me: “That’s disturbing,”
HSSW: “Yeah, but that one over there’s got that ‘micro-whatever-you-call-it stuff’ in it, and it’ll do the trick.”
Me: “I don’t know—what if I just buy the cheap one and try real hard to cut back on breathing?”
HSSW: Blank stare.
My would-be rescuer’s effort to save me from ‘death by cheap air filter’ did include a valid point, and it prompted me to think about air filters in a way that I might not have, otherwise. He was right when he said that there are dangerous things in the air all around us, but there are greater threats to be concerned about than dust particles and pet dander. Other invisible things use the air we breathe for transportation, like sound waves.
For example, I observed an exchange between two people at a McDonald’s restaurant recently. I’d call it a conversation, but that would be far too generous. For a few minutes they turned the atmosphere into a verbal sewer, filling the air around them with a disgusting display of foul language and profanity. Their words were uttered in harsh, angry tones, and were accompanied by sarcastic, snarky attitudes on both sides. Sadly, hearing filthy words in public places these days is an all-too-common experience. It has become endemic to living in America, and we hear it virtually everywhere. It makes the whole idea of air filters take on a broader connotation than the one I had in mind at the hardware store, and reminds me that God had some things to say about filtering our words. Consider the following:
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 NKJV).
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29 NKJV).
And to His opponents, Jesus said this:
“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37 NKJV).
Scriptures like that, and many others, used to be proclaimed from the pulpits across this land. They served as our spiritual ‘filters’, and they kept the atmosphere in our nation cleaner. When God’s directives were proclaimed and taken seriously, the impact and benefits were widespread and powerful. Unlike the twisted, controlling strategy of today’s ‘PC Police’, God’s design was not to simply place a muzzle on our lips and dictate what we could and could not say. As Jesus clearly taught, the problem with our mouth begins with the heart. God’s ‘filtering system’ involves a spiritual transformation at the point where the contaminating thoughts and words originate.
Our national move to systematically purge God from the public arena in America unavoidably resulted in the corresponding removal of our only effective personal and social filtering system. Mainline churches began accommodating popular trends to the point that it became a higher priority than dealing with the growing volume of moral impurities filling the air. As the spiritual filters disappeared, the standards of verbal decorum disappeared along with them, and the linguistic atmosphere became more and more putrid. Symptoms of the viruses it carried quickly became apparent, then epidemic, moving naturally from words to behavior. Verbal disrespect became physical abuse, sexually explicit words became sexual coercion and assault, violent speech led to random physical attacks. With no filter in place, the idea of moral decency was lost, and the family unit was re-defined. America developed and fed an obsession for unrestrained and irresponsible sex that has resulted in the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent babies, and the promotion of every kind of perversion imaginable.
My hardware store advisor wisely suggested that I not cut corners on filtering the air in my house. In America we have done far worse. We not only ceased to apply effective spiritual ‘filters’, but we have now begun to proclaim the insanity that it is the filters themselves that constitute the danger, not the trash they’re designed to remove.
© 2015 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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