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What's that you said?

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By Dale Kendrick, Salem Church of Christ

 

A few years ago, some neighbors were talking loudly on the street as I worked in my yard and another neighbor’s young children played in theirs. The conversation was not profound, but profane. I called my neighbors attention to the young children and the failure of their English teachers to expand their vocabulary. Gratefully they apologized and took their conversations inside.
A current movie with an A-list cast is recognized for its use of one singular profane word; over 500 uses in a 3-hour showing.
Sailors can talk salty; but I was never subjected to such a barrage in 26-years of military service; yet it is thought I should be in the pursuit of entertainment.  
It is said our society is losing its civility. We no longer enjoy the customs of courtesy. Simple etiquette has been excised from our culture. Certain words and expressions are embedded in everyday language, and no one is safe from them.
While speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him.” He then proceeds to say, “…men will have to give account on the day of judgment for EVERY CARELESS WORD they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:35-36)  
It is said a man uses 20,000 words-a-day and a woman twice that.Jokes aside, that means we utter one-half billion words in adulthood.
Can you image how unfathomable it will be to account for our speech – let alone our actions?
Have you ever uttered some disgust toward the person in the express check-out with too many items? Have you ever cursed in pain? Screamed in frustration? Yelled at the innocent? Joked at those who were different?
Have you ever shouted at children in anger? Said an unkind word or demeaned someone? Spoke impolitely or rashly?
It is no wonder James writes, “The tongue also is a fire… It corrupts the whole person.” (James 3:6).
Christians are called to be separate from the world. This isn’t to say we are to be cloistered away from the world, although some have chosen that path. It means we are to live by a different decorum – a decorum that recognizes and mimics the qualities of a loving, righteous and holy God.
How would our speech change if we saw God in every face, saw each person as the created image of God and if every word spoken brought only praise and glory to the God of our salvation?