(Jesus said) "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man. ..." Matthew 15:19-20a (KJV)
I've never been to Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Nor do I know the high-school English teacher who was recently suspended after parents complained about some blogs she had written.
In her posted musings the teacher used some profanity when she described her students as being "out of control" and "disengaged, lazy whiners." The Associated Press says the teacher also took to task some of her co-workers and administrators.
Now it would be possible for me to use this devotion and ask are the students disengaged and out of control or are the teacher's co-workers and administrators deserving of criticism? Yes, we could do that, but we won't.
Instead, I'd like to note that amongst the charges for which the teacher was suspended, cursing was not listed. At least not in the AP article I read.
Now if that's true, I think that's a sad commentary on the state of things. It's sad a teacher isn't allowed to say offensive things about administrators and students, but is allowed to say things that offend the Lord and His people who try to watch their tongues.
More and more I've heard music lyrics, movie scripts, political speeches and everyday conversation that are laced with language that is foul, filthy and offensive. Words that would once have brought a blush to a boot-camp sergeant now are frequently heard proceeding out of the mouths of little ones.
And that's not right.
It's not right because as Jesus said in the text for today's devotion, our language reflects the condition of our hearts.
Our hearts. That is the very thing Jesus came into this world to clean up and change. Through His sacrificial life, death and blessed resurrection Jesus brought about the means by which we are washed of our sins ... including those of the heart.
"Create in me a clean heart O God"; that is what Psalm 51:10 says. And then the second part of that verse adds "and renew a right spirit within me." When the Holy Spirit does both those things, then many things change.
And these include the cleaning up of an individual's language.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks for what You have done to forgive my sins. Now, with a clean heart and a right spirit, may I reflect that forgiveness in my thoughts, deeds and words. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries