Cultural Conversations

“But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison.

We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God.” James 3:8-10

In the fire service culture, we have the tendency to be harsh with one another. We joke and use dark humor almost as a coping mechanism to deal with the situations we face.

The problem in our cultural conversations is that before long our fire station language begins to become part of our family’s conversations. When our harsh language falls on our wife or children do we still defend or justify our culture?

In 2006, I reached a crossroads in my life. I began to feel conflicted and tormented by my fire station language. My language was not conducive to one who is a follower of Christ, a good husband, and a loving father.

God began the process of cleaning up my heart and thereby cleaning up my conversations. It has been a hard road marked with many u-turns, bumps, and bruises.

Many of us will attempt to separate out fire service culture from our family culture. The problem with this is eventually we will become one or the other. Which will we choose?

Our language ultimately reflects our hearts and we should strive to speak words that will not harm, embarrass, or hinder any of our relationships.

If we are to truly live what we preach as Christians and firefighters than we have found ourselves in a place of great accountability. Our lives should be above reproach. And if we are not careful we can destroy all that we have worked for in a manner of a few poorly chosen words.

Let us choose to build up one another and not tear others down with our words. For after all, our very commitment is to save others. So how is harsh language helpful in accomplishing our mission?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”Ephesians 4:29

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

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