Monday, May 24, 2021

Talking About The Elephant In The Room

 “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

Every day we are bombarded with the ways of the culture. Some of those ways are not evil – some are not contrary to God’s Word – but so many others are. It is difficult for many Christians to discern the difference.  As we consider life and the living of it, we might draw a line to divide the two, using the Word of God as the pen to draw it.  On one side of the line are those things that God speaks directly to as “Thou Shalt Nots” or “Thou Shalts.  Our culture would have us believe that life is not that simple.  That there is a gray area – a not really that bad area – that God – if you believe in God – tolerates, winks at, does not really mind. In fact, that gray area is an illusion – a deception of the Strong Man – an enticement to question “Did God really say!” 

I was speaking with two different Christian men on two different occasions recently. In the course of our conversation, they both used profanity in their conversations. When they did, there was an almost imperceptible pause and they looked at me as if they wanted to see my reaction to their words. They were disappointed – I didn’t have a reaction. But I did have an understanding. Profanity used to be a big part of my vocabulary – but like excessive drinking of alcohol, both were no longer part of my new way of living. Just like I did not need to drink myself stupid (looking back I think it was PTSD), after I was born again, when I spoke to people – profane words no longer came to mind or out of my mouth. When I hear those words come out of the mouths of professing Christians – apparently proud of their freedom to speak them – defiant to anyone who might question their use of them – I am reminded of a verse in the Bible.

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

The words we use in conversation are very telling about the condition of our hearts. It might not be profanity – maybe it is gossip – or criticism. Words that do not build up but tear down. Words that bring hurt and harm. Words that shout out the values of the culture and not godly values.  I have had conversations with some people where they were about to say one of those “words” but caught themselves – there was a slight pause as they mentally recovered and searched their vocabulary for a “godly” substitute. Nothing is ever more obvious to me when that happens. I have seen or – or more correctly heard it – so many times – so many times.  I suppose it might be because of their perception of who I am and not wanting to offend me.  The thing is – it is not me they need to worry about – Sin is consummated in the heart before any visible or audible act is committed. In other words, they didn’t hide it from God. They thought it – just didn’t say it. Paul’s admonition to Titus covers it ….

“….be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:1-7  

What do you struggle with? Please don’t read this as a proclamation of my purity – like I don’t have my own struggles – of course I do. But this issue is like the elephant in the room.  Everyone sees it. No one wants to talk about it.  I would hope that these words brings pause to your thinking and perhaps encourages you to draw closer to God and stop embracing those things that are contrary to your new nature.  To consider those things that you have accepted as “good” or “good enough” that are not.

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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