noun (pl) -loes, -los
• a petty sin or trifling fault
4. a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.
I was listening to the Presidential Debates the other day and was struck by the the tenor of the whole evening. If my children had behaved this way, I would have punished them with either a spanking or a time out. Their use of vulgar language and their aggressively disrespectful attitudes towards each other caused me to switch channels in order to watch something redeeming like The Real Housewives of Orange County, Naked and Afraid or The Bachelor. Not really, but I did switch channels hoping they would get past this childishness so that we could listen to real ideas about how to address the needs of our nation.
It made me think about the fact that things which were out of line and out of bounds in previous generations have now become peccadilloes to be laughed off or even imitated. The gravity of genuinely important ideas and debates has disappeared to be replaced by innuendos and out right lies about others that have to be fact checked while the lie/rumor does its work of undermining. Honor and decorum have been replaced by verbal attacks on the most personal parts of a person’s life and appearance. Words that I was always taught were only necessary if you had no education and/or no vocabulary are now the preferred words, even if they are gratuitous and add nothing to understanding. Recently I started to watch the movie Argo. Within minutes of the movie’s beginning there were so many obscenities that I just got up and walked out. I learned later that there are 42 obscenities in the movie, “mostly the ‘F’ word” and many more other types of vulgarities used throughout. If you’ve gone to virtually any movie it is not to hard to see that this kind of language and double entendre are becoming epidemic. This pattern is not limited to secular movies and settings. Increasingly men and women alike appear to prefer obscenities and vulgarities over other words for making a point. I’m not sure if it’s for shock value or if the idea rests under the “freedom” that grace brings. It seems to me that this social entropy definitely applies to decorum, respectfulness, and our mind set as a whole. We seem to be getting worse as a nation across all spiritual and social demographics. All while coated in the increasingly disgusting verbal chimera of “I’m a Christian!” Could there be much greater confusion about who and what a Christian is and should be?
To be clear, God does not see any sins as a peccadilloes, but as an offense against His personally holy nature. However, I thought perhaps I had just become old and old fashioned in thinking this
migration in words ought not be so. As I tried to examine my own heart to discern if I was just being judgmental, I went to the Scriptures. They would seem to be clear on both our words and our mind set.
Psalm 50:17, 19-21- “For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you. You let your mouth loose in evil and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes…”
Eph. 5:3-5-3 But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]. 4 Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].
Matt. 12:34ff-37- …For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Proverbs 1: 22, 23, 32- “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Proverbs 10: 19- When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 15:28-The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Phil. 4:8- Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things
Col. 4:6-6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Ephesians 4:29-Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will grace to those who hear it.
Proverbs 18:21-Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Ps. 12:8 is happening daily around us. It says, “The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.” I never thought I would need to ask if Ps. 101:2-3 ( I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart, and I will set no worthless thing before my eyes) applied to debates between the men and women who are supposed to be among the best and the brightest we have to offer. Who are supposed to represent our nation and hopefully God with integrity and honor and respect and decorum. God spoke to Isaiah saying, “but this is the man to whom I will look and have regard. He who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit. Who trembles at My word and reveres My command.”
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
May God draw us to Himself. Better, may we run to Him in sorrow for the direction our country has headed during our watch, but also run to Him with hope that He will through us remind the world of the way honorable men and women should be living and thinking and speaking. May God help us check this moral entropy that has stopped creeping into our culture, and has begun walking boldly into it.