i had a friend growing up named Spencer, he was both a friend and an enemy, as we fought as much as we got along. He had a funny expression when he would get upset, “I am so mad I could spit!” He never did spit, his mom was pretty strict, okay very strict. I remember one time we were swimming in the apartment pool and he yelled out, “DARN IT!” after missing a pass as we tossed a football back and forth. His momma came out of the house faster than a jackrabbit being chased by a coyote. “Spencer Allen, you get in this house right now!” Fear gripped his eyes and bewilderment my mind, “what did you do?” i asked. “I cussed,” he said, as he walked the walk of shame up to his apartment.

A few years later i got in trouble for saying, “damn it” and as i was being punished i thought about how strict my parents were; then i remembered…pour Spencer Allen. Nowadays young people are just a bunch of sailors, as the stereotype goes, cussing up a storm.  i read a Facebook post about a parent volunteering at school and witnessing this along with all the disrespect towards teachers just this morning. As a youth pastor, i interact with teens on a regular basis, and this sort of behavior is on the rise and seems to be accelerating at a high rate of speed. It reminded me of a passage in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 it says:

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

i read this in two ways, one as a warning to watch our character. To be vigilant in our pursuit of that which is holy; body, mind, and soul. The other part is to be watchful of those we would associate with on a regular basis. Your core group of friends should be like minded as you in Christ. You are going to interact with folks found in the passage above as well you should. You may even call some your friend, again this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It becomes bad when those are your core friendships. It is easier to pull down than to lift up. Here is one more passage to end for today found in Ephesians 4:

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

You are LOVED,
cj

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