In a spirit of honesty, here's one of my sins of which I'm most ashamed: ##$!%@##*&!!
There, I've said it. The truth is, having spent the first twenty-seven years of my life away from God and immersed in the ways of the world, I developed a vocabulary some might call "colorful." When the Lord yanked me out of that pit fourteen years ago and placed me on the path of righteousness, one of the first obvious changes was my language. It happened almost instantly as Jesus promised, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34b). Hooray! I thought. No more cussing.
Well … yes and no. No, I don't ever curse as a matter of course, nor do improper adjectives slip out as effortlessly as exhaling. When I have full command of my emotions, purity of speech isn't a problem at all.
But when the skies on my emotional horizon darken or stress rears its ugly head, my once-tame tongue leaps from her cage like a tiger unleashed. Before long, I'm on my knees begging forgiveness for my out-of-control vocabulary.
Because I care very much what others think of me and how I represent the Lord I love, I've managed to limit most of my verbal transgressions to those times when I'm alone. This isn't an improvement, however, and besides, " … you may be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23).
One afternoon, with less than an hour to make a flight to Atlanta, I dashed into the house through our kitchen and promptly caught the cat's milk dish with my toe, launching liquid all over my freshly-mopped floor. I now had warm milk soaking into my new leather shoes.1