How we speak really does matter. It can give an impression to others what our views are on a particular topic. It can also determine someone’s first impression of us, right or wrong. If we are using foul language, someone will assume that we are not a Christian and talk that way in all circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, we all slip up when we get, say, hurt or really angry. But I’m talking about our every day speech. When we use a certain type of talk, we automatically can put out feelers for people to draw conclusions: are we a Christian or are we of the world? And what it says is perfectly acceptable. You don’t have to be a proclaimed Christian to not talk with questionable language. You might just find that speech undesirable. That’s ok too. “But for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) I had a conversation with my 17-year-old son about the issue of questionable language. He had never tested those limits before, but as he is becoming an adult, he looks upon things a little differently now. Like the “why can’t I do that now, I’m practically an adult?” kind of way. I had heard a couple of what some would call vegi-swear words and I was like WHAT did you just say? He told me that he didn’t understand why they were called “swear words” they were just like any other word, just that… words. I began to ponder this for a little bit, then I replied with a parable type story.
If we are separated into two different groups and one group is of the worlds views on foul language, that it’s normal and fine. Then the other group is of the mind set that it doesn’t reflect Christian or proper values. You are all walking down a wide path together with space between your groups. Group 1 (world views) are looking over at group 2 (Christian views) and noticing their words are different, they must be Christians. Then group 2 hears the talk coming from group 1 and determines that by all the foul language they hear, that group of people must NOT be Christians. As a Christian family, we are to be in group 2, this is how we have raised our children. We have also raised our kids to know the why behind what we or they believe. Don’t just say “well that’s the way I was raised” or “that’s just what we do.” We should be able to give a real reason for why we do what we do and believe what we believe. That being said, I presented him with the image of people wandering back and forth across the space between the groups. Pretty soon no one can determine which group anyone belongs to because they seem to be in both. If we want to belong to the world then act like the world. If we want to be a Christian then act like a Christian. “Choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
If we want to show people that we belong to Jesus then we should act like we belong to Jesus. Much in the same way that we act married by wearing a wedding ring and not flirting with someone else. We also can’t tell others about what we believe if they see that we act the opposite way.
My son had a look of understanding and nodded his head in agreement, “I see” he said. My heart was full as a Christian mom who wants to see her children grow in Christ. I just feel like our kids need the “why” behind the “don’t do that”. They also need the “why” behind the “this is what we should do”. Let’s give our kids some credit, they do have their own minds. Granted I’m speaking of kids that are like 8 and up. When they are little, they don’t understand the “why’s”— it’s the training time. I just think we would get better results if we stop the “do what I say because I said so” approach. We want our kids to be able to think for themselves, don’t we? Let’s better equip them to do so. By the way… I haven’t heard any questionable language since we had that conversation. Not saying I have it all figured out—far from it! But that one thing seemed to work at that one time. That’s how we have to handle things, one incident at a time with one tool to fix it at a time.