Jump Start # 2283
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
Sunday night I led a discussion in our teen devo. We have around twenty or more teenagers that were there. They are a lively bunch and a great group of kids. We were talking about things that bother us. I had a sheet for them to fill out that I called “The bothered factor.” I asked some questions about what bothered them and from that we talked about what we ought to do when we are bothered.
The first question on their sheet was to list the top three things that bother you at school. I was expecting answers like, homework or the food is terrible. Some listed a teacher or two who was hard. Some mentioned being picked on by others. But overall, nearly every one of the teens listed on their sheet cussing and profanity from other kids at school. It was nearly 100%.
This is becoming a regular problem in the media. Some entertainer lashes out a profanity filled explosion at her audience. Some politician unloads an angry tirade that is laced with profanity. Some sports figure can’t get through an interview without using profanity. It’s in the movies. It’s in modern music. It’s trickling in TV commercials. It’s everywhere.
I suppose people think that profanity and cursing gives more punch to their words. Often, a person is angry and that’s the default words they turn to when they are upset. We’ve become a cursing society. But it bothers me that young teens are experiencing it already in their lives.
Our verse is directed towards God’s people. Our speech must be with grace. It must be seasoned. We must think first and then speak. We cannot allow anger to choose our words for us. And with all of this cursing going on around us, our homes must become safe havens where the world is kept outside.
Parents must help their kids to express themselves with choice words that honor God, even when upset, disappointed or angry. It is so easy to borrow what we hear all the time from others. It’s easy to allow those foul words to become our words. In the moment of a crisis or a meltdown, our words can reveal much about our character and our heart. All the good that we try to do for others can be lost in a moment because we exploded with words that reflect the world rather than Christ.
What do we do? If kids are cussing at school, what are they doing outside of school? Where are they getting these words? How are they getting by using these words? Most likely it started at home and in an environment of little rules and no discipline, those behaviors only grow. Watching shows without restrictions will only feed more into young and impressionable minds. Not having a steady diet of God and His holiness in your life will only give a green light to cursing. Parents curse. Teachers curse. They curse of TV. They curse in the movies. No one is apologizing. No one is putting a stop to it. No one has a guard or a filter on their mouth. And, in such environments, it shouldn’t shock us that there is so much cursing going on at school.
I am thankful that all of our teens listed cursing as one of the top three things that bothered them at school. It bothers them. They are sensitive to it. They recognize that it’s not right. Thank you to their moms and dads who create a different atmosphere at home. Thank you to these sensitive hearts that love the Lord and see the difference and understand that the culture of cussing is not right, nor Biblical.
On the way home from the devo I thought of a guy a while back who I was trying to have a Bible study with. He was rough. His language was rough. About every fifth word that came out was a curse word. He’d say it, then he’d apologize. It got to the point where he was apologizing more than he was talking. I told him to apologize to God. I told him to take a time out. I asked him not to say anything. Just listen. I told him to think real hard. Then I asked him to tell me his story. Tell it to me slowly, real slowly, and don’t use any bad words. That didn’t work. He couldn’t do it. Profanity was so deep into his fiber that even when he tried not to, he still did.
Can a person ever stop cussing? Yes. Our words are our choices. It begins by thinking first. It changes when we try to speak with words that honor Christ. It changes when we enhance our vocabulary. It changes when we change our environment and we put some distance between us and other cussers. I’ve known folks who made that change. With the help of God and determination it can happen.
Our words are windows to our soul. What we talk about and how we say things, allows others to see what is really important to us. Be slow to speak as James puts it really helps. Catch yourself before the words come out. Change them and things will be better. Keep doing that and before long, those wrong words won’t even be the first things that come to your minds.
I am glad that our homes and our congregations can be places where the wrong words are rare and when they are spoken, forgiveness, correction and change follows rather than laughter and applause.
It doesn’t take long for people to notice that you talk differently. Keep it up. Your influence in your words may be the starting point of helping others.