Journal Eph 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking (which are out of place) but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Eph 5:4
Observation: Because this is Paul, there is a number of important issues in chapter 5. This one stood out for me because, if there was one particular thing that has gotten a ton of apologetics/arguments/defense over my years it has been, “What is ok to say?”
Analysis: Down to brass tacks: Is it ok to cuss once in a while? Is it ok to tell a “slightly blue joke” every so often?
Up front: This is a “man in the mirror” question. This is not a journal entry on hanging around people who cuss and thinking I have to correct them. There isn’t anything that makes me cringe more than someone apologizing, “I’m sorry for my French; you are religious, aren’t you?”
But what about me? When I am leaning into repeating a blue joke from my past, expecting a laugh, do I feel good about it? What is my conscience saying to me?
Am I ignoring my conscience?
Here is how some of the commentary goes: “It isn’t anything Jesus hasn’t heard before.” And every excuse has that comment at its root, no matter what is said. It sounds like I am making excuses for myself, when I know it is affecting my heart.
Outside of our children, whom we have authority and responsibility for raising in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, should we be correcting others willy nilly?
The great commission is about 1) Preaching the Gospel, and IMPORTANTLY 2) Making Disciples. But what it isn’t is teaching moral behavior in place of and as a substitute for the Gospel.
Notice I didn’t answer the question? Look in the mirror and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart concerning this.
Prayer: Father, what do you say to me about this? Please keep me authentic, not a moral parody of your Word.