By LESLIE LUDY
Crude and crass behavior seems to be everywhere these days. With the standards of the culture sinking dismally lower and lower, it’s all too easy to compare our behavior to that of society’s norms, rather than to the holy standard of Christ. Bathroom humor, crass comments, and uncouth behavior is not only accepted, but applauded today, even in many Christian circles.
How should we as set apart women respond to this ever growing trend? God’s solution is clear – as Christ-followers, we are to live, speak, and act with heavenly honor.
Honor means living with heavenly nobility; it means speaking and acting in a way that reflects the pure behavior of our God rather than the coarseness of this world. (See 1 Timothy 4:4-7.) Does that mean a somber, serious life devoid of laughter and humor? Quite the contrary! God is the One who invented humor in the first place, and He loves to see His children laugh. But He longs to see His children laughing at the right things, not the wrong ones.
The Bible is very clear about what kinds of things our thoughts and conversations should revolve around. Not baseness, crudeness, or lewdness but rather, things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy” (Phil. 4:8). (It seems pretty obvious that crudeness and bathroom humor are not on that list!)
We cannot develop the “mind of Christ” when our minds are filled with the baseness of this culture. 1 Corinthians 13:6 reminds us, “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth.” And Psalm 12:8 warns, “The wicked prowl on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.”
In Ephesians 5:4, Paul warns against allowing crude and course joking into our lives: “…there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” And Jesus tell us that on judgement day, we will give account for every idle word that comes out of our mouths. (See Matthew 12:36.)
Many Christians are tempted to ”let down their guard” in this area, especially when they are at home with their families, allowing crudeness or coarseness to slip into their conversations and jokes just to get a few good laughs. After all, they aren’t at work or church and they don’t need to impress anyone. Home is the place where we can all “just be real,” right? But this mindset only allows crudeness and worldly attitudes into our homes, teaching us to glorify things that are “not proper to mention” as it says in 1 Timothy 5:13. Home is not a place to be careless with our words. Rather, it is the place to be the most guarded and purposeful with what we say, and how we say it.
That said, our homes can and should be filled with lots and lots of laughter. Here are some of the things that we regularly laugh at in the Ludy home:
-Animals and the funny things they do, especially the family dog. (Seriously, how can you NOT chuckle often if you have a dog? And I don’t even like dogs!)
-Daddy’s silly songs and funny dance routines around the kitchen. (These are reserved for the Ludy kids only, so don’t get any ideas about seeing them yourself someday!)
-The hilarious statements that our soon-to-be adopted toddlers make. (Their faithful caregivers regularly email us with updates on what they are saying and doing, and each update always brings many chuckles and giggles!)
-Frogs. In all shapes and sizes, they are just plain funny.
-An action packed game of Uno Attack (a game where you push a button and cards come shooting out at you), or a lively game of Old Maid. The excitement of getting the “Old Maid” or being the recipient of cards shooting out of the machine always produces bursts of laugher in our home!
-Watching old black-and-white re-runs of Dennis the Menace and laughing at the larger-than-life sagas that Mr. Wilson gets himself into with the help of a precocious little rascal named Dennis.
-Mommy and Daddy regularly laugh at the funny things the Ludy kids say and do on a daily basis (usually we do this privately so we don’t embarrass anyone!), like five-year-old Kipling saying things like, “In Australia they have kangaroos and wannabies. The wannabies are like little kanagroos. Probably they want to be big ones so they are called wannabies.” (Who needs crude Hollywood comedies when you have the pure hilarity of children in your life?)
If crude humor has been a pattern in your home, ask God to re-train you to laugh honorably instead. Instead of telling bathroom jokes, find things to laugh at that are appropriate, pure, and God-honoring. Ask God to open your eyes to the built in “laughter therapy” that He’s put into your life, often right in your own family! Ask Him to re-train your sense of humor so that you no longer “rejoice in unrighteousness” but that you “rejoice at the truth,” and to pass this newfound “holy sense of humor” on to your family members.
RESPONDING TO CRUDE BEHAVIOR
Keep in mind that there is no reason that should feel obligated to laugh at crude or inappropriate jokes – whether they are coming from your spouse, family members, friends, or the culture. When crudeness isn’t given a stage, often it will melt away on its own. Yes, you can still respect your friends or family members without having to laugh at their crude jokes or encourage their inappropriate behavior. The key is in your attitude. When they behave improperly and you refuse to laugh, are you being graciously silent, or “sulkingly” silent? Are you trusting the Spirit of God to convict their hearts, or do you feel it is your job to “lecture” them? Remember, you can usually make a much more effective statement to your husband, friend, or family member by remaining graciously silent when they say or do something crude, rather than going off on a diatribe about how disgusting their behavior is. The best thing you can do in the face of crude behavior is to pray diligently for that person, be consistently Christ-like toward him or her, and set an example of honor in everything you do and say.
With God’s help, our homes can become reflections of His holy laughter; His pure-hearted sense of humor. When we walk in the joy of the Lord, we will no longer be drawn to counterfeit forms of laughter. The holy delight of our God should be more than enough to keep a smile on our face, without turning to the base and crude distractions of our culture. By His grace, may we become a generation that will live for His glory – a generation marked by godly honor; a generation that does not delight in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. Such a generation could change this world for eternity. What an exciting opportunity – let’s not miss it!