Love That Dirty Water

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When Isaiah has his great vision of the thrice-holy God, his immediate reaction is to recoil in the realization that he dwells among a people of unclean lips (Is. 6:5). The Lord Jesus teaches that the overflow of the mouth reveals the true state of the heart (Matt. 12:34). Hypocrisy can bottle such things up for a time, but eventually all will be revealed—especially in what becomes acceptable in public discourse.

Over the course of the last generation, the river of our public discourse—whether we are talking about the world of entertainment or the world of polemical politics—has grown increasingly polluted. And like the Standells back in the day, we love that dirty water.

And since the point is to push the standards of decency, and to violate taboos, we are confronted with quite a dilemma when those standards collapse. We are confronted with the law of diminishing returns. In order to get the shock value that we are addicted to, we have to push the limits further and further out.

The believing response to this is not to be shocked, shocked, shocked. That kind of surprise is actually fuel for the foul. Our response rather is to be full of thanksgiving, to be grateful, and to bless one another. Unclean lips do not become clean by not saying things. Unclean lips are purified when hearts are purified, and the clean mountain water of gratitude flows out of us.

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