Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:4
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. Ephesians 5:4
So have you learned any good jokes in the locker room—or at a slumber party? Do you have any you’d like to share right now—during family devotions? Maybe not.
You probably know firsthand how quickly guy-talk and girl-talk and even guy-girl talk can slide into the category of rudely crude. You’ve maybe heard some jokes that were hysterically funny—but that sizzled your ears.
Talk about it: Is it okay for the same mouth that says “I love Jesus” to also say “Did you hear the one about. . .”? Why—or why not?
Maybe you wonder what the fuss is about. Then answer this: If dirty jokes are no big deal, why don’t you run home to tell them to your mom? If you won’t share your most comic material with Mom, it’s good to understand why. Fact is, crude humor makes us think our bodies are dirty… that it’s okay to make fun of the opposite sex … and that bodies that grow up at different speeds and shapes are somehow defective.
The apostle Paul nailed down three kinds of things better left unsaid:
Obscene stories. That’s an easy one. It’s “filthy language,” like rolling in the mud by making sin into a joke.
Foolish talk. Dirty jokes are usually about things you have no clue about—often to give the idea that you do. Paul literally called it “the talk of morons.”
Coarse jokes. Those are the ones about your fabulous body parts—or your body functions—or the body parts and body functions of someone else.
As believers in a pure and holy God, “these are not for you.” Here’s another way to say that: Those words are “out of place” (NIV) and don’t meet God’s requirements.
So what’s better? Thankfulness!
What does that have to do with anything? It doesn’t mean you insert into conversations a “Praise Jesus!” where previously you would have told a foul-smelling joke. It does mean you have better things to talk about.
And that’s because you have better things inside of you. Jesus said that “The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart” (Matthew 12:34, NCV).
Are “obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes” all that you have inside you? Of course not! God is remaking you from the inside out. So let your speech show off what he’s doing in you!
TALK: How can you do a U-turn on a conversation that’s gone dirty? What are some better things to talk about?
PRAY: God, you’ve given us clean hearts. Help us to have clean mouths.
ACT: If you have some bad habits in your speech, ask a Christian friend to help you monitor your mouth and clean it up.