A post showed up on my Facebook page recently that bothered me. It was one of those pieces shared from somewhere else by someone I knew, and it contained language that I find repulsive in any context. I don’t recall what the lame attempt at humor was about, but it was a reminder to me that painting the lid on the sewer doesn’t change the contents. To put it bluntly, I’ve been firmly toggled over into the ‘I’m fed up’ category. I’m fed up with the proliferation of filthy language permeating our culture, and the disgusting and sinful behavior the repulsive terms tend to describe, but that, in and of itself, is not the primary point I want to make.
Filthy language is deplorable regardless of its source, but to hear it coming from those who are not followers of Jesus Christ is not all that surprising. I don’t collapse into a state of paralysis when I hear it from folks who take pride in their anti-Christian approach to life. If they have rejected Jesus and His teaching, then uninhibited demonstrations of whatever other belief system they hold would be expected. It would be unreasonable to expect anything else. When they tend to love things Jesus warned us not to love, and act in ways He taught us not to act, and engage in relationships that He said not to engage in, I’m not shocked. So, when they spew filthy garbage out of their mouths, or filthy garbage from their social media account, it’s not surprising. Jesus would consider it to be congruent with their unregenerate hearts. What isn’t appropriate is to see or hear the same kinds of things coming from those who do claim to be His followers.
God takes words very, very seriously, because they have tremendous power to affect our lives. For that reason, He monitors every one of them. It would make sense, then, for us to devote some serious consideration to the words we hear, to the words we say, and to the words we pick up and pass around to others. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45 NKJV).
Beyond that, He also said,
“Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matthew 15:10-11 NKJV).
Then notice the significant role the mouth plays in Paul’s description of those who have rejected God and His truth.
“There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” (Romans 3:12-16 NKJV).
These are sobering words, given the glib disregard with which we often treat crude and foul language. The issue is highlighted and repeated in further instructions to the Churches, such as this pointed admonition,
“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 further, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8 NKJV). Then this, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NKJV).
My lifetime has witnessed a proliferation of language in America that for most of our history would never have been used in any public setting, nor tolerated in most private ones. The trend is disturbing for reasons that extend beyond personal distaste. The words we use, and/or whose use we approve, serve as an effective spiritual thermometer. As such, it’s important to note that the words themselves are not the problem. It would be less troubling if they were, but just as a thermometer doesn’t warm or cool the atmosphere that it measures, neither does the vile language cause the spiritual decline it reveals. It only reflects the depth and extent of the moral and ethical contamination that engulfs us.
So what can we do? Let me hazard a couple of suggestions. We can begin by acknowledging what filth really is, even if it’s dressed up. It may look attractive, but making the sewer look appealing doesn’t change the nature of it, so let’s not play in it, either directly or through social media outlets. Let’s turn it off if we’re watching or listening to it, and get it off our page if it comes in. We can block the sources, and we can refuse to spread the filth to others. We can be more careful about what we laugh at. Humans often think filth is funny, but good humor doesn’t need it, and no one will be blessed or improved by it. Getting garbage from somewhere else and sharing it doesn’t sanitize our contact with it, either. Consider this, if someone threw something filthy at you, would it matter all that much where they got it? I doubt it. If they got it from a second-hand source, would that make it less filthy? Again, I don’t think so.
There’s a lot of great stuff available on the internet, but there’s a lot that isn’t. Some of it doesn’t even rise to the level of sewage, and some of it is so spiritually and mentally toxic that it can affect the course of someone’s life. Jesus said that what comes out of our mouth (or out of our social media account) tells the world what’s in our heart. If He really has a residence in us, then a second look before we ‘re-tweet’ something, or click the ‘share’ button, would be a wise thing. If we send it, it’s ours, whether we composed the words directly or not. God’s going to review our timeline one day. Wouldn’t it be great if the words we’ve said and the stuff we’re laughing at is something He might want to click the ‘share’ button on, too?
© 2015 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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