"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication our of your mouth." ~Colossians 3:8
These days when I hear teaching about putting off "filthy communication" (as did my pastor recently... timely and from his heart, I might add)), these two incidents come immediately to my mind.
First, a family anecdote which took place years ago. We chuckle about this one to this day.
This "filthy communication" incident took place when my children were very young. We were in a long cafeteria line at Luby's here in Houston. (I so overdid eating there vs. MacDonald's, that to this day they don't like the place.)
As we stood in line, a man in front of us was talking... loudly... and angrily... using one expletive after another. I looked down sadly at my children. Little Joshie was shaking his head, making one of his pitiful little faces.
When we reached the register, out of earshot of the offensive man, Josh tugged at my arm, looking up with his huge blue eyes, saying in all seriousness, "Mommy. That man must be a... he must be a... DEMOCRAT!"
This next incident, a sobering one, took place just last January, while I was ministering in India.
NARRATIVE from INDIA
One particular day, my friends and I teamed up for Village Evangelism, at one point veering way back into the country, walking quite a distance down a long pathway to a remote village. We were an unusual team, a mixture of youth and adults, mostly nationals, which made me stand out like a sore thumb. But we all had one thing in common... an intense love for God and a desire to spread His Good News.
Our Village Evangelism Team
I watched from the end of our queue, as those from our group reached the huts up ahead. Suddenly, I heard a man yelling in the Telugu language, and I could tell from the tone, and the fact that the man was running at our group with a distorted, angry countenance, that the situation was not a good one. Our group began running away, signaling for those of us in the rear to make our way out of there... quickly.
When I asked one of our teen girls just what the man was saying, she shook her head and answered, "His mouth has much sin, Sister."
The village leader did not like Christians, and in addition to yelling obscenities, he actually struck our little 2-year old, who had innocently run ahead of our group. (The lad in the yellow shirt, held up by his uncle.) Believers in this land are taught to expect persecution, and experience it from a young age. Yet their joy is so evident... so real.
You know, I can still hear that man's voice in my mind... it was so filled with hate.
In stark contrast, my friends' responses were ones of... gentleness... composure... not willing to even repeat an obscenity... and instead of focusing on the incident, moving quickly to the next village.
This was certainly a lesson concerning "filthy communication" that I will not soon forget!