Potty Mouth at the Gym
Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” Genesis 26:10
I’ve developed a bad habit of using somewhat coarse language at the gym. I probably do it in other places as well, but it’s most obvious to me at the gym. I honestly don’t think much of it. I never take God’s name in vain but saying s&*! when I miss a snatch (Olympic weightlifting) is not particularly offensive in my mind. I got to talking about it with a Christian brother the other day and he suggested that Jesus probably wouldn’t say that word if he missed a snatch. I pointed out that Jesus wouldn’t miss a snatch – he’d nail it – but I got the point. As a Christian, others are watching and listening. What do they see and hear? Do my words and actions reflect Christ in me? Or do they see that Christ has made no impact on my life?
I often write of personal responsibility. I can’t have faith or recover for anyone else. I can’t change others. I’m only responsible for my own actions. Today’s blog represents the exception to this rule. Though I’m not responsible for the other’s behavior, I am responsible for any influence I may exert over their decisions.
Today’s passage illustrates this. In the story, Isaac, like his father Abraham, lied about his relationship with his wife. In a strange land, Isaac feared that someone would kill him to claim his beautiful wife, so he lied and said Rebekah was his sister. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, discovered the truth and confronted Isaac about it. King Abimelech must have had some fear of God, because he recognized the potential consequences if someone had taken Isaac’s wife. Why have you done this to us? In this case, Isaac’s behavior had the potential to significantly shape the behavior of others, causing them to sin. Isaac couldn’t control the actions of others, but his moral failure could have caused those around him to stumble.
It’s not exactly the same, but I have a similar concern about my coarse language. I want my life to be a beacon that points others to Christ. So, what do others see in me? This isn’t just about some bad words at the gym. This is about my entire life. If I want others to see Christ in me, then whatever I do or say, I should daily be asking myself – Does this point others to Christ or not? If it points them away from Christ, then whether I think it’s a big deal or not, it must be cut out of my life.