Several years ago my brother and I went golfing. Just being the two of us, we were paired up with two other guys in order to make a party of four. Not too long after we began playing, a lot of bad words and inappropriate topics were discussed between the two guys (particularly by one guy). Eventually, the conversation turned towards our careers. I explained that I was a youth minister. The one with the dirtiest mouth responded, “Oh sorry…I will watch my language.”
I found this whole situation interesting. Up until that point, the man had absolutely no hesitation or care about what he was saying. Why did this man suddenly feel the need to watch his words? This led me to a few observations, not only about this man, but about our society.
- He knew his language was morally wrong. Otherwise, why would he feel the need to apologize for his language and refrain from it?This man knew there are certain things God disapproves of. God has placed within us a conscience and morals to help us make the right decisions (1 Samuel 24:5f; Romans 2:14-16; etc). Deep down, most people know what is ethically right and wrong. Sadly, this “moral code” is often suppressed because of our selfish desires.
- He wanted to put on a “good front.” Now that he knew a minister was around, he felt the need to show that he was better than he actually was. It was as if he saw me as some sort of watchdog or reporting agent to God. No matter what he thought, for whatever reason, he simply want to appear better (Matthew 6:1-7; 15:8-9; etc).
- He was reminded that God expects different behavior. Just telling him my occupation produced a change in behavior. He know that God is pure and frowns on contrary behavior. He knew, at some level, that God expects better.
While I doubt this created any lasting change, it was at least one more reminder that God holds us to a higher standard. It may seem like God is being purged out of our society, but deep down many people still hold to some level of respect for God and inner morality (Romans 1:18-20). Let’s make sure we stand up for this higher morality. Let’s show ourselves to be a light for God. And let’s show people how a true follower of God speaks and acts (Colossians 3:9).