“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving… Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret… And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:4,6-12,18-20
Our world is full of words, and the input we get from both media and mingling often presents an onslaught of crude and meaningless chatter to which we must respond. Some will sink in by osmosis, some we cannot turn off, none can we ‘un-hear,’ but we can choose to change the subject.
The filthy and foolish are “out of place;” we may not always be able to abandon their ‘place,’ but can resolve not to let them take up residence in ours. Give no attention, guard mental barriers, lift our focus instead to thanksgiving to God. There is nothing so powerful as gratitude to fill in and fill up our brains with good. Empty words breed deception, and we must turn from their darkness to light, from falsehood and waste to truth and substance, from filling our minds with the trivial and meaningless to practiced discernment of what honors God. He calls us to change the subject of our interests, from voyeuristic intrigue over tidbits of salacious information and the debauchery of others, to contemplation of His loveliness, from the trickling of gossip from our mouths to filling them to overflow with the music of praise and thanks.
Where do I need to turn a corner to change the subject? If my mind goes dark, to places unpleasing to God by way of criticism, or comparisons, or self-loathing, or prurient interests, will I deliberately re-focus my thoughts to things above and the light of truth? When complaining and criticism creep in, and out, will I replace that thinking and spitting with melodious thanks? When conversation goes raunchy, what words will I use to elevate it, to offer a new and wholesome and more interesting subject? When demeaning banter begins, how will I change gears and direction to upbuild others, to affirm value? (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-2)
Living Word, give me wisdom, and fortitude, and practical help, to change the subject when called for. Guide my thinking and my mouth’s responses to all I hear, that I might cause others to consider, and give thanks to, You.