Vol.XX No.XII Pg.8
February 1984

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

When I was very young, back in the dark ages, today's "four letter words" were strictly forbidden. Oh, they were around all right, but we were taught that nice people did not soil their lips, or offend the ears of others with them. (We learned that soap will wash out the mouth, if not the mind; and may even jog the memory for a time.) We knew what the law said.

But boys work hard at getting around parental law. Our "gang" sometimes gathered in a far corner of the woodshed to play this little game. One boy would declare, "It's not nice to say '—' " Another would immediately respond, "YOU said it!" At this the first boy would ask, "Said what?" And his critic would say, "—." Now this gave a third boy the opportunity to charge, "YOU said it." "Said what?" "—"' And soon we all had tasted the forbidden fruit.

With luck (not getting caught at it) we could practice our complete secret vocabulary without losing our "little angels" status. (My mother would whip me yet if she knew this — and I would thank her for it. Don't show this to my grandchildren.)

It may have been curiosity, the spirit of adventure, or a streak of rebellion that authored that game. We knew better, although I can't believe we were aware of its seriousness, or possible long-range effects. Now when adult brethren excuse ungodly conduct with child-like excuses they are playing a dangerous "game" with God — and He sees and hears all in the woodshed.

Rumors are spread to ruin a brother's reputation — as we "protect the brother- hood." Speculative teachers feed pride, trample the weak, in the game called "free search for truth." Editors hungrily seek some new "issue" to sell papers; and throw ethics to the wind as they "stamp out error." Paul was slanderously reported to have said, "Let us do evil that good may come." He wrote, their damnation was just (Rom. 3:8), and he was right.

When we abandon the principles of Christianity in our claim to "fight the good fight," we are playing games with God. Our weapons are not carnal (2 Cor. 10:3-5), and the use of carnal means is an abandonment of the gospel armor. We must plant truth in hearts, knowing "God is not mocked" by games.