A few nights ago we dove into the conversation about bad words with the kids. It all started with the word “sucks.” Don’t worry; we approached it at an 8-year-old level. I am a professional at these types of talks. While many of my other Seminary classmates were writing sermons every week or making visits to people who had been in faith for a long time, I was dealing with high school and middle school students and their unchurched questions. Many of those conversations are in locked boxes in my mind. Even the most open and honest conversations won’t unlock them. From them I learned to practice what I preach, never be shocked, and always be ready to give an answer for my faith. Yes, I even have an answer about bad words. What? You don’t think the devil is just as active in all the language that is out there. A word said in the wrong company can affect a person’s view of us. Oh trust me, this is a bigger deal than you can imagine.
Anyway, Mindy got stuck in this “bad word” conversation and called me to her rescue. I shared how we often don’t understand these words when we hear them, and if that is the case, we shouldn’t say them before we ask mom and dad what they really mean. This pulls us away from the whole “my friends use it” argument, and gives the instruction back to us. We explained many of these words try to destroy something God has made beautiful, which was followed by the question, “Why?” The answer, well, the devil is active trying to distort any of God’s beautiful gifts of life. Then I asked, “Did you ever say any of these words before you knew what they meant?”
My photo memory flipped back to my own experience on a hot, miserable Blue Springs summer day. I was probably around Jacob’s age. My mom had just put the air conditioning units in the house, but it was still super hot. Luke and I wanted bunk beds instead of individual beds, so my mom was busy changing all of that around for us. As we were standing there watching her, I was finding words that rhymed with the sounds I heard. The word “stuck” came to my mind as I listened to the metal hit the wood. I spiraled through a bunch of beginning sounds as you do when finding rhyming words, but of course the only one I said out loud was… well enough said. I had no clue what the word meant. After sharing this story with my kids, Jacob said, “I know what word you said” and he asked if grandma was mad. I said, “Of course.” He tried to grasp why she would be mad if I didn’t know what it meant. This is why we don’t say something until we know what it means.
Society, the world, and the devil are constantly stealing words and creating derogatory meanings for them and other nonsense words. We have to deal with X-mas and the dreaded “higher power” conversations. (I am not even sure why higher power is safer than God, other than it allows people not to have to say that they believe in God.) We could all get on soapboxes and yell at society, the world, or the devil for doing this. Yet we know that the victory is really won by Jesus. In the meantime, we have to deal with the devil’s acts, and the way we do that is with a Ghost. You heard me right—a Ghost. And the devil has even tried to distort that!
This weekend is exciting as we worship as one body in one service. This hasn’t happened in a long time, and what better timing than a weekend where we’ll talk about the Holy Ghost, aka the Holy Spirit. It was in a room packed full of Jesus’ disciples when the promise of a helper was fulfilled. Maybe the most shocking part was that this helper, this Ghost or Spirit, was invisible! That was a powerful moment! It was undeniable that a helper was there, based on what they saw, and regardless of what they didn’t see. But trust me, they didn’t understand it all. What words or circumstances has the world tried to steal, making it so we can’t explain, or even try and understand it? To understand Him? This morning we break the silence on one of the most powerful, but unexplainable, parts of our journey with Jesus.