I remember the first time I heard a cuss word on TV. I remember the show; I remember the scene. My reaction was, “Whoa. They just pushed the envelope.”
Some would laugh today if I mentioned the show and what was said. It now surely falls into the category of “what’s-the-big-deal?” If I used this word, though, I think my 83-year-old mother would still wash my mouth out with soap. I’m not willing to find out.
My undergraduate degree required a class in communication law. I learned that, while the FCC does have rules defining what it obscene, indecent, and profane (there is a difference), much of their action is determined by community response. Advertisers also influence a producer’s decision about what is shown or said. If people complain, advertisers fear losing business and may drop the show.
So if no one complains, the show goes on … and next season (or next episode), they’ll push the envelope further. Over time, what we see and hear becomes commonplace—and accepted.
We are seeing the truth of what John Wesley said: “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”
The most blatant example of this is the push to accept and approve homosexuality and embrace same-sex marriage on equal terms with heterosexual marriage. Many historians trace the roots back to the summer of ’69 and the riots outside a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Over the years, the homosexual agenda has been pushed more and more.
So was the acceptance of homosexuality forced on us … or did we just gradually come to tolerate and finally accept it?
In the Book of Daniel, Daniel called sin what it is, and he did so to the face of the king. (See Dan. 5.) Daniel could’ve kept his mouth shut, but he was compelled to speak the truth.
I like the way Rob Zinn said it, “The hand of God was on Daniel, and I believe he spoke the truth in love and sincerity. In that moment Belshazzar was confronted by a hard lesson: ‘Be sure that your sin will find you out’ (Num. 32:23). May we truly learn that lesson before it’s too late.”
I am not rallying solely against cuss words and homosexuality. I am rallying against turning a blind eye to sin—any sin. Let’s speak the truth about sin—but let’s do it with a load of love and grace.
Sin was a big enough deal to Jesus that He died to set us free from it. So let’s confront the sin around us—and point to the life-giving forgiveness of Christ.
This post is based on the study “Confront Sin” in Bible Studies for Life.