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Editor's journey

‘Lysol’ Christians

SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Recently, while waiting for a table in a restaurant, I struck up a conversation with a fellow patron. He was cordial, but his remarks were laced with profanity. My initial reaction was to excuse myself in order to spare my ears and prevent public embarrassment. But that’s not what Jesus would do, I preached to myself. Jesus would befriend this young man.

Vulgarity in America by John W. Kennedy

So, for the next 15 minutes I listened to his story. He confided that he was separated from his wife and needed a steady job. After learning I was a minister, his vocabulary improved considerably and he confessed that he had turned his back on the church. Then, surprisingly, he asked me to pray for him.

The encounter illustrated that many believers forfeit ministry opportunities because they’re offended by the behavior of unbelievers. In fact, they’re so offended they endeavor to isolate themselves from "sinners." These so-called "Lysol" Christians prefer to pretend they live in a sanitized society. They shield their eyes, cover their ears and feel spiritually clean. But, in doing so, they seldom respond to the cries or wipe the tears of lost people.

Yes, we should be disturbed by vulgarity. We have reason to protest obscene television programming and literature. And we should take steps to guard our hearts and protect our children. But moving to the Salt Flats of Utah to escape society’s offenses is not an option. That won’t bring light to a dark world.

First Peter 2:11,12 says, "I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God" (NIV).

We must realize that unbelievers will not acknowledge our deeds or meet our Savior if we don’t get close enough for them to know our names.

— Hal Donaldson

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