Our preacher started a new ‘sermon series’ Sunday, and it is a spiritual challenge for our church: SET THE EXAMPLE. His scripture came from I Timothy 4:12. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth, but set the example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, and in faith and purity.”
Paul’s mentoring of Timothy, as a young pastor, I’m sure came from his life experiences. When I served on a ship In the Navy, I often would see posters on walls, bulkheads on ships… that warned about keeping a filter on a sailor’s mouth. The posters read, “Loose lips sink ships”.
These declarative statements were used during World War II, and they were directed at the deadly U-boats of Germany that sunk many ships loaded with valuable cargo for the war effort, including civilians.
James writes that the ‘tongue’ is an untamable item, and it is like a wild fire that can’t be contained. Though very small, it is equipped for evil only God’s knows and Satan cheers about.
As a lad growing up in a boy’s world I thought ‘salty language’ was my rite of passage into manhood, but, I chose seldom to curse; but I did curse enough not to be considered a ‘weirdo’. As a teenager and as a young man, I delved further into the art of profanity, as my Boatswain mate often called it, during my time in the Navy.
Though I demonstrated I had a talent for ‘salty’ language’, I never used God’s name in vain or Jesus Christ’s; but, I did slander everything else in the Profanity Dictionary. It was very sinful, and I deeply regret it. …”For the heart speaks what the heart is most full of.” Luke 6:45 James says the same things differently, when he ask the question. “Can a well bring forth fresh and salt water at the same time?”
Pilgrim, when did you stop using profanity? Oh! You haven’t! When will you? What will it take for you to stop?
I read about an uber pink socialist college professor that took state money for teaching a class about the value of profanity in one’s life. Its class title was something like…Profanity as a core value in history. The germ of its supposedly enlightenment was cursing allowed one to be free from traditional shackles that inhibit freedom of expression, venting of pent-up frustrations, and a smoother path to self-actualization.
Just walking through my local Walmart or stopping at my local service station for gas, makes me suspect the entire country has taken this professor’s class. Just when I’m positive our American culture can’t slide farther into the slime of public profanity, across both genders, Hollywood proves me wrong. Our youth and young adults lap up every morsel of this filth and beg for more.
In my boyhood days, swearing was always in the air…until a girl entered our area. Out of respect for the woman, seldom did a boy openly use profanity she could hear. Today, it is often the girl that has the loudest unfiltered ‘potty-mouth’.
What is it about the names of God and Jesus that man has decided they can profane them, without impunity that the world condones, seemingly without much embarrassment? Do we use the names to try and show the depth of our feelings? Several times I have ended up playing golf with men that are very profane, especially when they miss a short putt. Too often I just ‘suffered’ in silence; but, in my latter years I openly confront this assault upon God with phrases that ‘praise’ the Lord for good fortune while playing. Sometimes, I have suggested the man that can’t putt start sending up praises rather than curses. Perhaps, we profane God to openly demonstrate to him how disappointed we are with our outcomes. A few times, we may even use profanity to deflect the blame for our own ‘short-comings’.
If our national news would broadcast that your name had been chosen to be used for just one day as America’s favorite swear word, might the entire country change its attitude about slandering the holy names of the Creator and his son, Jesus,. For the next twenty-four hours, every time one chose to use profanity they’d shout out your name in frustrated anger…or just for the hell of it. Would you laugh it off? Would you try to just turn it out? Would you turn a bit paranoid when you allowed yourself to contemplate a profane people used you as a ‘curse’ word a billion times in one day. That estimate may be on the short side. If you knew there was a ‘lotto’s’ chance that your name would be next, would you grow anxious? Would you lose sleep?
Many Pilgrims may be ready to announce: “It wouldn’t bother me one whit.” Oh really!
A high school Social Studies teacher made big waves a few years ago when she conducted a sociology class experiment that taught students and upset parents’ hard lessons about life in the fast lane. She asked her classes if they’d like to take part in a sociology studies experiment about human behavior under stress. They all thought it was a ‘cool’ idea, and all eagerly accepted the challenge. This was the formula: blue and green eyed children were segregated from the brown eyed ones. In the class room, they were forbidden to talk to the brown eyed children, Brown eyed children were given preference for seating, but it had to be segregated. The teacher often ignored the hands of the blue and green eyed students, but always chose the brown eyed students to speak and provide answers. Test scores indicated the brown eyed students received higher grades. The first couple of days all these changes were handled with a ‘grain of salt’ and the students enjoyed the challenge. By Friday, the end of the experiment, the brown eyed students displayed an obvious air of superiority. This attitude had even filtered out into the halls of the school, and these two types of students had begun to conduct divisive behavior. The blue and green eyed students began to display a lack of confidence. Disagreements were just one word away from a rumble.
The results of this experiment even surprised the teacher. It took several days of honest discussion to regain a normal class atmosphere, and for the students to acknowledge how their behavior mimicked the treatment they had been given, through no merit of their own. Pilgrims, what say you? Do you think it would affect you if the entire country used your name for just one day as their favorite swear word?
Since God’s Bible declares that using his name in vain bothers him, I think it would bother all Pilgrims if your name was inserted instead of Jesus’.
Then next time you swear, or are angry or mad enough to swear, shout your name loudly. The outcome may shock you. Oh yes, perhaps ‘little ones’ are not only watching…they are listening to every word you say.
While I never condone the use of foul language, one time I heard a story where foul language was used, and it seemed almost sublime. Friends of ours tell the story of their courtship and marriage with the details of his marriage proposal…actually it was her proposal. It was the second marriage for both. She told him: “If he didn’t marry her, he’d be the dumbest S.O.B. walking around on planet earth.” He told me that when this genteel, southern Tennessee, daughter of a preacher, gal sinned, he said that, he knew he had found the right woman to marry because she obviously was smart enough to recognize a S.O.B. when she saw one. They are both eighty, they have been happily married for nearly forty years.
Pilgrims, let us heed James’ words. “Above all my brothers, do not swear— not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes’ be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.” James 5:12
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