“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
It has been said to get society to change, make them laugh about the issue first. As I was growing up watching television in the 60’s, I watched shows like, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, Combat, McHale’s Navy, and Twelve O’Clock High. Then as I entered the 70’s I was a 13 year old boy. I watched shows like, All in the Family, MASH and Saturday Night Live. In a very short period of time TV had begun to make subtle changes. Anti-war characters became heroes and crude jokes were now being aired during prime time television. We started to see people living together as not something that was sinful. Homosexuality was presented to us in a humorous way. Christian beliefs were starting to be made fun of. That brings us to the present, nothing is off limits on TV. Christians are openly mocked and sin is celebrated as alternative lifestyles and if you speak out against sin you are accused of hate speech.
Paul warned the church in Ephesus, But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints (Ephesians 5:4). He immediately says that these shameful sins are not even to be talked about. William Barclay writes the following about this verse, “The Persians had a rule, so Herodotus tells us, by which “it was not even allowed to speak such things as it was not allowed to do.” To joke about a thing or to make it a frequent subject of conversation is to introduce it into the mind and to bring nearer the actual doing of it. Paul warns that some things are not safe even to talk or to jest about. It is a grim commentary on human nature that many a book and many a play and many a film has had success simply because it dealt with forbidden and ugly things.”
We are to be different from the world, swearing, cursing, and dirty jokes should not come from the mouth of followers of Christ. One of the advantages I have as a pastor is that most people don’t curse or tell filthy jokes around me. I don’t get bombarded through e-mail with lewd and pornographic memes. However, I’m not immune from being exposed to it all of the time.
I had someone come out to do some work at my home and very quickly all kinds of profane language came out of his mouth. When he asked me what I did for a living he got upset with me that I did not tell him I was pastor right a way. When I asked him why that mattered he said because he was a Christian and didn’t want to offend a preacher. Too many Christians think that there are two different standards that we go by. One is our “churchy” standard. That is what we act like when we are around church or church events or around the pastor and his wife. The second is how we act when we are around the world. There are not two standards only one, God’s. “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4.