Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. ~ Ephesians 5:4 (NLT)
Growing up, I was heavily involved in sports. Basketball, volleyball, football, track & field, I loved them all. I loved the competition, pushing myself to elevate my skillset in order to be competitive. But, mostly, I loved being part of a team. I loved hanging out with the guys on road trips, sleeping in gyms and vans. I loved celebrating with each other when we won, and encouraging one another in the face of defeat. I loved joking around with the guys and developing a tight bond with each other. I wouldn’t take anything back except one thing: What we talked about in the locker room during practices.
Usually after practice we were in pretty good moods. We were having fun. So, we’d start joking around. Some of this consisted of one of us making fun of another team mate, and then that team mate giving it right back. But, often times, the jokes and comments were, well, dirty. We talked about the girls we went to school with. We painted them as sexual objects and rated them accordingly. We told dirty jokes that mostly involved sex or something gross. We dropped the F-word like it was the only one we knew how to speak. We thought we were being funny and cool. But I can tell you, if one of those girls heard the things we were saying, they would’ve been devastated. If our parents heard the language we were using, we’d all be busted. We knew what we were doing was wrong. We just didn’t care – unless we got caught.
As Christians, we often times live in the locker room. It’s a place we can go where no one else is looking or listening in. It’s where we can say things, watch things, and do whatever we want without people judging us. Here’s the trick. We know what we are doing is wrong. Why? Because the Holy Spirit inside of us tells us the truth about who we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to think, what we are supposed to say. The apostle Paul put it like this, “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.”
If you struggle with this, make today when you surrender your own personal locker room to God. Speak words of encouragement. Share words of wisdom. Lift others up.