Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.Ephesians 5:4 (NLT)
When I was in grade school, we, like most other classes, had a student that was our class clown. He was always doing stuff to get attention. He was also the king of telling jokes. In the early grades, the jokes were pretty basic, like the knock-knock variety. As we aged, they got a little more complex and developed into a series called “What’s grosser than gross?” As we entered the upper grades of elementary school, the jokes began to morph into something else entirely. We were used to this kid cracking us up, so he had a built-in audience for his newest jokes – jokes that included various body parts and activities that are rarely seen in public. Yup, he started telling sexual jokes. And, like good little sheep, we laughed along to them without hesitation.
When we moved into our junior high and high school years, the talk stayed the same, but we weren’t telling jokes. Instead, we were telling sexual stories about thoughts we had toward girls in movies or on TV. Eventually, we began telling sexual fantasies we had about various girls we went to school with. This is often referred to as “Locker room talk.” I’m ashamed to say that we all took part in sharing our various thoughts on the topic.
Looking back, and with a heap more perspective, I realize now that though we thought the stories were funny, or entertaining, they were also completely immoral. God didn’t build both genders so that we can turn one another into mere sexual objects of fantasy. This is both degrading to the person being objectified and everyone who hears it. Additionally, this type of objectification leads to other societal issues such as a market for pornography, which creates demand for human trafficking, which destroys relationships, which destroys us.
So, we must take our verse today to heart. “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.”
Our focus is not to be on fantasy, but the realities of God. When you hear obscene stories or coarse jokes, stand up for what is right. Don’t repeat them. Additionally, be mature enough in your faith to stand up for those that are being objectified. Be strong enough in your faith to gently help those who tell such stories to stop. Be part of the solution.