Naughty words. We hear them. We read them. We say them. We write them.
Back when I was a kid, naughty words were followed by a good scolding—as in that dirty mouth being washed out with soap. Ick! The chemicals in soap make it taste like death by poison. It can sure be an effective measure of discipline (it worked on me), but it shouldn’t be the only one.
Soap can’t change your heart. That’s where you hold your beliefs, attitudes, and priorities. That’s the true source of either evil or goodness. Jesus said, “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart” (Matthew 15:18).
So God has changed your heart. He’s given you a new identity that isn’t dominated by naughtiness and shameful words, but by divine grace and purity. In Baptism, God washes your heart out with soap and then looks at you, smiles, and says, “How pretty! How pure! How clean!” God praises you!
Replace the shaming names you call yourself like “failure” and “loser” and “dirty” with names that God calls you. Wake up each morning and go to sleep each night living in God’s peace, no matter what anyone else thinks about you.
God praises you even before you perform better because Jesus performed his work of saving you. God praises you even when you still make mistakes because his grace knows your heart and your identity better than you do.