“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” – Matthew 12:36
There was a time when people joked about getting the mouth washed out with soap for saying bad words. I’m afraid there isn’t enough soap in the world to stop all the bad language we are hearing in society today! Perhaps using the mouth-washing technique worked for some, but we have more of a heart problem today.
What a challenge we have to teach our children to be careful in choosing their words! People all around us seem to have no qualms about talking about things that were once held sacred. Many children are raised in homes where ugly language is used constantly, and they do not know there is any other way to talk. When I taught GED classes, some students said what they were going to do in the bathroom instead of simply saying they were going to the bathroom!
How can we teach children the best way to talk that pleases our Lord? We must do all we can to get children in church and teach Scripture that addresses the use of the tongue. We need to do all we can to change hearts of children to let them know there is a better way of talking and living. We need to set a good example.
Let’s never give up Vacation Bible School. It is possibly the very best way to get children to come to church. Churches that still have a bus ministry are earning a blessing for reaching children. It is tough to do, but truly reaches those who need to be reached. There are many parents who would be glad to have someone take their children for a few hours if we could only find the workers willing to do so.
When children come to church from homes where families are unchurched, they often sense a calm and love they have never known. They can experience the yearning for God’s house as described in Psalm 84:2. They look forward to going to a place where they feel loved and secure. It is often their first introduction to Christianity. What a wonderful privilege to work with children and see their eyes light up with understanding. They experience a better way of living and their hearts will be changed.
Setting a good example both at home and church is not as easy as one might think. Just because we don’t use “dirty” words doesn’t mean that we don’t say things we shouldn’t. When children hear us gripe, complain, yell, or get angry we are setting a bad example and canceling out much of the work we are trying to do. Being overly critical is like throwing water on the fire of enthusiasm burning in the children.
A higher tone of living is caught as well as taught. We can’t change the entire society, but we can certainly control our behavior in our own personal spheres of influence.