Awhile back I was watching Larry King Live on CNN, and he was interviewing Duane Chapman, otherwise known as Dog the Bounty Hunter. The Dog and his family profess to be born-again Christians, and they have set themselves apart from others in their profession with their benevolent, “Christ-like” behavior toward their fugitives.
If you’ve ever seen their show, you know that the leather-clad, heavily tattooed, foul-mouthed Chapmans aren’t exactly poster-children for the Religious Right. Larry King was taking questions from viewers on this issue, and one asked if their prevalent use of four-letter words is really the best witness for Christ. The question obviously made Dog uncomfortable, and he said they were “working on it.” I watched a new episode earlier this week, and I didn’t see a bit of evidence to suggest that taming his tongue is anywhere near the top of Dog’s priorities.
One of the best parts of being a Christian is that God knows you are going to have parts of your life that aren’t exactly squeaky clean, but He loves and accepts you anyway. As the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 10:23, everything is permissible, just not necessarily constructive. God meets you where you are and changes you bit by bit – you don’t have to be perfect before you can have a relationship with Him. And that’s a good thing, since none of us are ever going to be perfect.
I wish that Dog had just manned up and said he wasn’t quite ready to give up the potty mouth yet. I wish he had owned up to the truth instead of skirting the issue by saying he was “working on it.”
If you know there’s an area of your life that’s not “constructive,” really examine how you feel about it. If you find you’re not ready to let it go, just be honest with yourself. Then, be honest with God and with other people. It may feel embarrassing or shameful, but you can’t expect to hold onto something you know is wrong and feel good while you do it.
If you are truly seeking God, you’ll be able to leave your unconstructive behavior behind when the time is right. Just don’t make it worse by being a liar or a hypocrite about it now.