Or “cursed” at a pastor, depending on which region you're from. We say “cuss” down in Arkansas, and Tedd (my hubby from Philly) gets a kick out of it…
Aaaaanyway. Yes. Once I “cussed” at a pastor.
We were in Peru for a 3-week-long training, and this particular night we were sitting around the table, eating dinner. Trying to be friendly and conversational, I start visiting with the pastor sitting across from me. Where we’d been staying for this training, there were horses that walked freely on the grounds, and I’d tried to make friends with a certain colt, but it had a tendency to bite! So the pastor and I were talking about this little colt, (yes, this very one here in the picture):
I don’t remember much about the conversation, but the pastor mentioned something about how he tried to pet the colt, "but he..."
And I interrupted, anticipating what he was going to say next…
“He bites!” (“Muerde”) I meant to say…
but what I actually said was “Mierda” which, unfortunately, translates:
He grinned awkwardly and continued with what he was saying…
But I stopped listening; he was still talking, and all I could think was “hmmmm…something didn’t sound right about what I just said…”
After the conversation ended, I leaned over to my dear Mexicana friend...“Sandra,” I said, “how do you say ‘he bites’ in Spanish?” “Muerde,” she replies.
Then I remembered. Muchas thanks to an upper-level Spanish movie class, where we sat every Tuesday night watching the most horrendous Latino movies, I had somehow recorded some “wordy dirds” into my Spanish vocabulary, without even meaning to.
I often catch myself saying something, thinking something, even dreaming something that is far worse than a curse word, but just plain evil! Sometimes unintentionally, but sometimes consciously. Why?
I'm convinced that the things we expose ourselves to have a lot to do with it. When I hear stories, when I see a movie, when I read an article, when I see a picture...that stuff sticks. It can desensitize us, consume our thoughts, play like a record in our minds; it can haunt us in our sleep and run wild in our imaginations...and I don't mean just the big obvious stuff like blaspheming God or violence or sexual stuff, but I'm talking about things that promote fear, greed, materialism, pride, hatred, discontentment, depression, and so on.
Even those Spanish movies (they had it all! language, sexual perversion, horror, greed, violence, you name it!) - I struggled with being afraid or disturbed because of a scene that I couldn't get out of my head, or feeling emotionally persuaded, after I left that class. Even a word I never meant to "memorize" was somehow "implanted" and came out later on. That incident was really no big deal, but it does go to show how we unintentionally store things in our hearts and minds...
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness..." (Matthew 6:22)
"...for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)
I stopped watching scary movies a few years back (I used to LOVE them!), and I've cut down my magazine-reading and television-watching down by about 95% - not because I consider it a rule for Christians, but because of the practical help it is to my mind and soul. It's kind of like saying, "I had high blood pressure, so I stopped eating fried foods all the time."
Horror movies poisoned me! I was afraid; I had nightmares; my imagination could have beat out a Stephen King novel any day. Magazines only made me long to be beautiful, or to have material possessions, or to be successful. Movies and TV these days often romanticize or make light of evil, desensitizing our hearts and minds. I don't mean to make a legalistic statement that 'as a Christian, you shouldn't participate in these activities,' no, that's not my objective. My objective is to be honest with ourselves about how these things affect us inwardly.
If we're striving to love one another, to love Jesus whole-heartedly, to honor the most holy God by living holy lives, then why would we make it harder on ourselves by welcoming outward junk to bombard our already-feeble minds?
I know we can't just go sit in a closet, but as Christians, we need to guard our eyes and our ears, filtering out evil as much as possible, fleeing from evil, so that our hearts will be filled with what is good, pure, lovely, and righteous.
I'm really working on this, with God's help, to control my tongue and my thoughts. I still haven't filtered out every source of junk in my life, I'm sure. Some things I haven't recognized yet, and others I have, but have a hard time letting go of. But I want to fill my heart with good things so that what overflows will be pleasing to God. I want a life free from fear, greed, lust, hatred, complacency, depression, materialism, or pride. I want to know Christ and honor Him!
Christian friends, I encourage you to pray about the things in your life that could be hindering your spiritual well-being. I encourage you to pray for God to help you "filter" evil out, so your heart will overflow with love for Him and others, bringing light to the body and joy to the Lord!