I’m learning more and more that the world is a miserable place. And unfortunately, this miserable world uses language that I’m not used to hearing.
My somewhat sheltered, home-schooled life of clean language vanished as soon as I got a job this summer in food service. I’ve started hearing constant cussing. God’s name taken is frequently taken in vain. Put-downs and gossip are always on the lips of my fellow employees. I can’t go half an hour without hearing something I don’t want to hear.
Swear words are tossed around like softballs. There’s no shame in what my employees (and sadly, my managers) say on the job.
I can’t get away from it. Foul language is everywhere. There’s no escape—not even in the church (but we’re not going to go there today).
It’s true that I can’t leave my register when I hear God’s name used as a cuss word. I can’t put earplugs in when I hear other employees putting people down.
So what can I do?
- Try to avoid it. It isn’t always possible to get away from bad words and conversations, but you can try to keep busy doing other things while the other workers chat. You can try to speak well of others. An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. (Proverbs 17:4 NASB)
- Be a good example. Make sure you talk about good things. I’ve noticed that the girls on register with me ALWAYS have something negative to say. It could be a complaint, a rumor, or a cuss word. Respond to negative with positive. Others will notice a difference in your behavior if you keep your mouth clean. In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8 NASB)
- Don’t think you’re invincible. Whenever we start to think we’re better than others, we make a huge mistake and fall on our faces. If you think you have a perfect little mouth, take heed that you don’t cuss out a customer. Take heed that you don’t gossip about your manager. Take heed that you don’t take God’s name in vain. Therefore let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB)
The world is in the fast lane, headed straight for the dumpster. Forbidden words and phrases have snuck into our everyday vocabulary. It is a rare thing to hear God’s name magnified instead of misused. Insults, complaints, and juicy gossip have replaced conversations about the weather and sales on shoes.
Your chance of making a difference might look slim when you hear so much sour.
But maybe you can be a little spark in the darkness. Maybe your behavior will stand out—even to one person. Maybe just one individual will notice that you don’t have a filthy mouth.
And maybe they’ll wonder why.
I know I’ve also used this verse before, but it perfectly fits this topic:
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 NASB)
Imagine hearing pleasant words instead of the trash we normally hear. Wouldn’t you notice a difference?