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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

A True Story and a Very Real and Hard Question for You

On July 17 Jane and I went to the KCVA Emergency room as my ankles were extremely swollen. (Most of you readers will know that I was diagnosed with kidney disease and myeloma 1.5 months ago)

Oddly, the place was almost empty. We waited for a few minutes until the middle-aged nurse popped in.

“Mr and Mrs Hager?” she inquired.

After a bit of small talk my bride said..or tried to say…that “It’s awful (quiet) in here..”

The nurse yelled “stop” before Jane got the whole word out.

Apparently nurses…especially overnighters..are a suspicious lot, and feel that if anyone uses the word chaos chases through the doors.

Or, as our nurse said, “Now we are going to have a full on S…T show. S…T!

I grinned and said, “I suppose this is the wrong time to tell you I’m a reverend”

She blushed, shook her hands, said “I’m sorry” more times than I can remember. We had a good laugh.

As I was kept overnight I met other staff who popped into my room to say, “YOU are the guy!”

Fun story.

But that leads to a very real question.

Perhaps the criticism I hear most often of my preaching style is that I am “too transparent.” I don’t get that. One does not have to go into sordid details, but the Word says, “Confess your sins to one another…” Too often lay people (I hate that term, but don’t know what other word to use) have struggles and think they are the only ones, or at least think that the “professional Christian” does not endure the same temptations and failures.

I’ve been a child of God since 1974; full time home missionary since 1978. I do the disciplines consistently. I am learning what it means to pray. If I’m not careful (bounce the eyes) I can struggle with temptation/lust. Bunch of other stuff also.

But the one I want to address is my violation of Ephesians 4.29 – “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth..” The Greek word refers to rotten or putrid speech. Not just what some call profanity, or swear words.

But let’s focus on swear words.

I have a confession. If I get mad, provoked, or tired I often think “bad words.” All too often the word comes at least part way out of my mouth. Occasionally someone overhears me…but usually it is just me…and my redeemer.

Since Eph 4.29 begins with “let no,” the Word tells us we can and should guard our mouths. We can’t sluff it off to habit, the way we were raised, etc.

Personal responsibility.

So..friend..what about you? Are you or have you been convicted that “rotten” words come from your mouth?

If "yes"…would you comment what you are doing or have done to prevent it from happening?

Because, at the end of the day, we really do, we really do, we really do need each other.

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1 Comment

Jessica Guhl
Jessica Guhl
Jun 27, 2023

Yes. I find that trying not to do something is usually futile, and results in a Romans 7:19 situation, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." Although I've a long way to go, I try to remember to replace bad habits with good ones- in this case, praying for someone, and for the ability to respond to them in a sanctified manner, rather than letting words fly at or about them.

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