Several years ago, I read some emails from my son's friends. They contained some pretty salty language. I spoke to my son about it and made my position clear, but I felt I owed his friends some guidance too, so I wrote them a letter. Because of one thing or another, the letter never got sent, but I found it when I was cleaning out files on my hard drive. I think the advice is just as apt today as it was when I wrote it.

Some of you may know that my son’s computer died recently. As a result, I allow him to use my computer for email and homework. As I read through some of his emails recently, I found a good deal of profanity and other inappropriate language exchanged. Let me remind you of what you already know, but may have forgotten.

1. The Bible says to avoid coarse talk and vulgar language. It also says to encourage one another and to speak things that edify. Filthy language accomplishes exactly the opposite of those two goals. I’m 100% certain (and so are you) that some of the expression in your emails and on your facebooks displeases God greatly. It is sin. Turn away from it and discipline yourselves in communication calculated to edify one another and show Christ’s character.

2. Unless I misjudge their character, not one of you would communicate like this in front of your parents. If they already know how you talk on the computer and condone it, then consider yourself exempt from this part of my letter. However, I think most of your parents may be fairly ignorant of your activities, and the discovery of it would shame and embarrass both them and you. I know that’s the way I feel. We taught you better. This language spits in your parents’ faces.

3. If neither #1 nor #2 ring any moral alarms for you, then at the very least I’d like you to consider your reputations. It shocked and greatly disappointed me to discover you were the sort of people that find this kind of talk acceptable. Quiet frankly, I don’t associate with people who talk that way. If I want moral sewage, I need only turn on the TV; the world is full of it. As Christians, we try to pattern our talk and behavior after Christ and stock our lives with like-minded families and friends. Your casual attitude with this sort of language makes me wonder what else you treat casually. Honesty? Integrity? Respect? Sex? Drugs? Alcohol? I’d be no less surprised to find you compromised in these areas.

Gentlemen, I understand your thinking; I was once a young man. You think this language is edgy, that it lends an air of maturity and sophistication and brings a certain social acceptability. There is no doubt the world will love and accept you if you speak this way, but the benefit, if you can call it that, ends there. The blandest dullard on the planet can adopt that “edginess”, a 3-year-old can reproduce that “maturity”, and any addle-brained degenerate can assume that “sophistication”.

If you want to develop real edginess, maturity, and sophistication, stand firm against the world and its gutter mentality. Learn to speak and write well about things that really matter - namely, God, love, and morality. Do that, and I guarantee you’ll stand out.