Friday, September 26, 2008

From the Heart: The Mouth Speaks

(Originally posted 06/07)
God’s timing, in my estimation, is nothing short of absolutely incredible. For several reasons over the last few months, one of the most dominant conversations in my house and with those closest to me, is that of being a good example to others, and to the generation coming up after us. Holy living, growing in grace, ongoing sanctification and all of the above. For the Christian, being a good example is living like Jesus and being an example of Him in our words, thoughts and deeds. It’s that simple, and it’s that complicated – since most of us fully realize that we fall short each and every day.
Regardless of the fact that we do indeed fall short, the goal each and every day is to be an example of Christ, so toward that end we diligently pray, seek the wisdom and insights of those closest to us, seek to remain accountable, teachable, humble and open to correction. Sometimes, it’s not easy and other times it’s not so difficult, but at all times it’s the desire of our hearts and nothing can deter us from pushing onward toward that goal. And all of it, is by His precious grace in our lives. Not one of us has anything to boast of, because it’s all Him.
I mention that first to explain why this topic is so close to my heart. It is nothing short of a daily battle to keep vulgar, obscene, profane, hurtful, condescending words away from my ears, and the ears of my children. Not only to keep them away from our ears but to instill in them a right and balanced understanding of why these words are as poisonous as they are, how they should never be found in the heart or on the lips of anyone professing love for Christ. The daily battle I mention comes in the form of music, tv shows and commercials, music videos, movies we rent, text messaging, and more. Once upon a time the source of these kinds of words was exclusively in the unsaved camp, but now we have to add to the mix the fact that even professing Christians are using this kind of language and making a mockery of those who are genuinely offended by it. They use their “liberty in Christ” as a license to offend, and make you the fodder for their jokes when you mention it. How do we address that, with our children? It’s not an easy thing, I assure you.
Over the weekend it was brought to my attention that one of the posts here was linked to a message on another person’s blog that contained some of this kind of language, in defense of the idea that language is in a constant state of flux, and what may have been offensive to the more sensitive general public 100 years ago, is not always offensive today. I am fully aware of the fact that language does indeed change, but that certainly does not excuse us from using the Scripture as our holy standard for how we communicate, nor does it give us license to say or write whatever we want, and if it offends someone, “too bad” and “get over it, you colonialist prude” be our defense.
Further, when one of the “big name” blogs in evangelicism promotes and praises such material as this, it’s time for us to wake up and ask ourselves what in the world we’re doing (and saying). It’s high time to ask ourselves why we tolerate such language, and why we’re not more concerned with what the Bible says, than we are concerned with what the celebrities of Christian blogging think of us.
It is for this reason, beginning today and going through Friday, that I am going to repost five articles I’ve written over the last couple of years on this subject. Each will be slightly edited and updated, and while each one carries the same basic message, I am deeply convinced the timing has never been greater for us to play very close attention to this subject.
While I do believe we’re to be an encouragement and a source of edification toward those that are of likeminded faith, I also believe that we’ve (as a collective body) become too tolerant and even afraid of saying it like it is when it comes to offering genuine rebuke out of love for the truth and concern for others. We say we love the truth and we say we love our fellow brothers and sisters but when it comes to correction we run the other way out of fear of hurting their feelings or causing them to dislike us. As a result of that, too many of us just want to play nice and ignore the ungodly, completely worldly conduct going on right in our very own homes, churches, and broader Christian community. We’ve adopted this twisted idea that culture has changed so much that we need to be less rigid and more accepting to blend in. The old cliché comes to mind: “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” as it pertains to this subject.
Some might argue that it’s not my place to offer such a message. I would like to explain on that front, that as a result of MY culture (I refer to the culture of Christian Motherhood), I would be a liar and a hypocrite if I sat and said nothing. My culture demands that I boldly speak this truth and speak it in love. While I do not desire to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause them to dislike me, my love for the truth and the defense of it is far more important to me than what someone “feels” as a result of being corrected. It’s my hope that they feel conviction by the Holy Spirit.
Part 1 of this series will be posted later today, Lord willing.