Over the past few months, the news has been flooded with stories about racism, police reform, justice, protests, and rioting all over the country.
Much of this has been turned into political banter and ammunition, and political candidates are using it as campaign platforms.
In a nearby city, there are candidates for both mayor and city council that are weighing in on these issues.
One particular concern is over the need to clean up the streets of the graffiti that is covering the buildings and monuments as a result of recent protests.
One candidate mentioned that she couldn’t even take her kids out because she didn’t want them to see the disgusting and filthy language plastered all over the city some of which had to do with her in particular. (My paraphrase).
While I agree with her principle of not having her children see this graffiti, is it a moot point in our society today?
To be clear, I am not saying that it is not an important or significant issue. Nor am I saying that this kind of language is acceptable.
And to be clear, graffiti is illegal in this particular city – which even has a Graffiti Removal Department which has not been deployed to clean any of it.
And finally, there is a difference in protesting with handmade signs while marching in the streets and the use of spray paint to cover up buildings and monuments.
With that said, let us return to the original question: is the “foul language” graffiti being seen by children a moot point?
You see in this country for many years, we have produced and consumed movies and television shows that promote, script, and glorify sex, foul language, and violence. Much of which is being watched by our children anyway.
However, this is not just a children issue, I wonder how many of us adults bristle at this kind of “foul language” graffiti and then sit down ourselves and watch movies, listen to music/podcasts, or read books with hundreds of expletives and other inappropriate content.
So, it is okay for us to watch, listen, or read this kind of junk in the privacy of our own homes, but not okay to say/paint all over our cities in fear that our children would not be exposed to any of it.
While I do not know this to be true, I bet this candidate’s children have already seen, heard, and possibly even used this kind of language (as well as many of us). Some of which they probably picked up from us.
Regardless, here’s the deal:
In Matthew chapter 23 verses 23 through 25, Jesus says to the Pharisees,
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence…”
Here, Jesus is addressing those who look good on the outside and “do” all the right things, but on the inside are evil, corrupt, and hypocritical.
Why are they hypocritical?
Because they criticize the sins of the world, yet do not honor God with their own life.
It reminds me of the children’s song that says “Be careful, little eye what you see – little ear what you hear – little mouth what you say – There’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love. So, be careful little eye/ear/mouth what you [do].”
Again, is the issue of children seeing foul language graffitied all over their city a moot issue?
I would argue it is. But it shouldn’t be.
While I agree with the candidate that we should not be using this kind of language and especially in this way. And that our children should not be exposed to this kind of mess.
I would also say that we should all take a little inventory of our own life and see if we are contradicting our righteous anger with unrighteous behavior.
It is moot because the foulness of that language lives inside of us. All of us. We need to be cleansed. We need to be transformed. We need to be a new creation. And that can only happen in Jesus Christ.
As Christians, is there a visual change in our lives?
While the tone of this post is probably a little harsh, it is said from of a heart that has engaged in the exact same things and recognizes the need to be cleansed, forgiven and saved by Jesus.
Let us not stop at this recognition, but also let us take this opportunity to beg the Lord to forgive us and cleanse us as we seek His presence and grace so that the world may know His people are something different.
And, so the claim of this candidate (and probably many of us) may not appear moot, but be authentic and real inspired out of a love for the holiness and purity and majesty of a loving, gracious God.
Anyway, I was just thinking….