DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’ve not been a Christian very long, and the other day someone in my church took me aside and bluntly said I needed to clean up my language. Is he right? I admit it kind of offended me. I don’t see what difference it makes, since everyone talks this way. — R.S.
DEAR R.S.: Perhaps your fellow parishioner wasn’t as diplomatic as he might have been, but I’m sure he was concerned about you and wanted to help you, and I hope you’ll be grateful for that. The Bible says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6).
It’s true that many today think little about the language they’re using, whether it involves blasphemy (using God’s name in an unholy way), obscenity, or simply tearing other people down. But we sometimes forget that our language is a reflection of our inner thoughts, and when we use God’s name (for example) without even thinking about it, it indicates that he means very little to us. Jesus warned, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts … false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
Don’t take what others do as your standard, whether it involves your speech, your inner thoughts, your actions, or anything else. God calls us to a higher standard because he calls us to be like Christ and to put him first in our lives. The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
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Be grateful that you now belong to Christ. Now make it your goal to live for him every day — not in your own strength, but with the strength he will give you as you turn to him. The Bible says, “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
© Tribune Media Services 6/6