Trends can be fun, can’t they? Trends in food, in social media apps, trends in how we consume media, and our beloved fashion trends. Despite all of the fun trends bring, there is a side to trends which tends to frustrate me more than anything. Often, trendsetters insist on others partaking in them, refusing to allow others to enjoy their own sense of style. Trends seem to pretend that they are something new and unique. Yet when examined more closely, it appears they are merely repeating things from the past in a slightly different way. This happens quite often in everyday clothing trends. Clothing styles pass themselves off as something new without acknowledging what inspired them. Those who do not adopt them appear behind the times, or simply old. Fashion trends demand all of our attention only to fade when the next one comes along. Trends occur in every faucet of our lives, including following God.
There are trends in many other areas of our lives, which invoke in my mind the same feelings of frustration and silly expectations as trendy fashion. One of the popular trends I want to explore exists in what I’ll call the Christian Men’s Movement which began in 2001 and extends to present day. This movement focuses on authentically following God with our whole heart, throwing off all posturing, in pursuit of authentic faith in God. Largely, the movement seems to strive for honesty and transparency in men’s Christian faith, but comes up short in one key area. One particular behavior which has emerged out of this incredible move of God, is an unspoken attitude which says, let us watch what we say, our speech, our tongues, in front of women, but what we say in front of men is between brothers.
In what is undoubtedly a rugged, outdoors-favoring, adventure-driven persona, comes a trend which tugs at the heart of God. To some, it might seem incredibly petty that I should address it and many might argue that I am acting like a nit-picking, Pharisee. Because, after all, any movement which draws people to God is better than no movement at all, correct? I shared in the same sentiments at first, and I was truly hesitant to write this article, but God revealed something to me.
This movement stems from a desire for whole-hearted faith, authenticity, honesty, transparency and bucks the persona of the poser. While I am all for these things, I stop when it comes to something which sets itself up against the knowledge of God. I suppose to the ear of the one speaking, talking in this way seems to put off rugged, strong, masculinity, but in many ways this is still posing. So in a way things have changed, but in our hearts they have not.
A Godly Standard
Largely, what I have seen is that Christian men exposed to this movement have convinced themselves that what flows out of their mouth when around men is between brothers. I am not berating the trust and vulnerability that can bloom in these situations. I am focused on the standard we use for what is appropriate speech. This standard is not audience dependent, it is universal. While I am not here to say I have mastered my tongue, I am here to point to scripture and allow God to do the work.
Following With Our Whole Heart
I applaud and I am greatly encouraged by the core of this Christian Men’s Movement because it addresses what has been severely lacking in men’s ministry for so long. It strives at authentically following Jesus with our whole heart, putting aside our desire to pretend like we have it all together. For men, the desire to pretend or pose is deeply engrained in our psyche. So when this trend of speaking our raw thoughts, our unfiltered words in front of other men emerged, it left me perplexed. I observed a sense of unspoken male bonding which occurred when men felt the freedom to speak using vulgarities that they would not dare use in front of women.
The Overflow of Our Heart
So why should I dare suggest that Bible-believing men should change this behavior? This movement is all about men authentically following Jesus with their whole heart. Am I just being overly critical on a subject which really does not matter? Luke 6:45, shows us that taming the tongue is not merely something we do in the presence of ladies, it is something we ultimately do in the depths of our heart. Men, if we speak one way in front of ladies and another way in the presence of our brothers, then we have not changed at all. To speak this way is to be unauthentic in our walk with God. Let us look at what Luke 6:45 says about what comes out of our mouths.
A False Sense of Masculinity
There are countless verses in the Bible which speak directly or indirectly to the words which come out of our mouths. The Biblical evidence is not lacking on how we should behave or the type of words which should come out of our heart. What I hope to do here is to debunk this myth that speaking with vulgarity makes a man any more of a man. It can definitely come across that way, but I might argue that a man is more of a man by the control he exerts over his tongue.
Our True Character
What I hope to shed light on is that our choice of words reveals our true character. Words reveal the true change which God has done in our lives. Let us be clear, a man or woman does not accidentally get control of their words. No one stumbles into encouraging, wholesome talk. Our words are the fruit of our character and more importantly the evidence of the work God has done in our lives. This takes intentional surrender to God.
I truly hope and pray that what you get from this article is the importance of allowing God to change our lives from the inside out. Our words are perhaps the greatest witness we can have before others. They reveal who we are when no one is looking. Our speech is the fruit of the change God has miraculously performed in those who choose to place their faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, it is usually the last area we surrender to God. I pray that these scriptures have spoken to your heart, revealing just how important our words really our in our witness to both believers and nonbelievers.