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"Profaning Words"

Words, smurds! Why does what we say matter? Well, if you read my article last month we explored this very topic. We discovered that words have meaning because God this is the medium through which He has chosen to reveal Himself. He gives words definition. We must respect them; they are binding.

Do you remember when you were a kid? Yes… I know some of you would rather not relive those days, but humor me! Anyway, did you ever find yourself playing in the park, perfectly content to amuse yourself with your pet rock? Humph… I hear the hecklers out there! Just because you cannot understand the pleasure of playing with a stony, inanimate object don’t hate on those who do! Back to the story… Ah yes… I was¬…I mean the boy was playing with his pet rock and the playground bully came up to him and said, “Hey dork! Is that rock your momma?” I was…I mean he was unimpressed. Without thinking, the boy blurted out the first thing he could think of. “Your momma wears army boots!” Of course the bully responded to this witty reply by proceeding to pound on my…his face. The poor boy didn’t realize his words could result in such a painful experience. He didn’t think his words were that important.

As I observe the general attitude of society today it seems as if they share the worldview of the bully in the story. I hear it all the time as I am out and about. I can’t get away from it. I walk into the mall and hear a group of teenagers communicate with each other with a vocabulary that would make Joe Pesci’s ears bleed. “Yeah that girl is such a #!@$%. %@#$ yeah! She should shut her %!#$@ $%$#@!# mouth!” I have heard them use “colorful words” as replacements for nouns, verbs, interjections and adverbs. I can guarantee that if they could find a way to use those words in every part of speech, they would. Facebook is even worse! I often see all sorts of profanities employed just for the sake of using them. It’s as if they have a curse word quota and won’t quit until they meet it. Such words are meant to offend and in previous times, were often used by persons who were crude or unintelligent. This tells me that people today are either stupid, gross or they no longer think such words carry any weight. Perhaps all of the above?

However, there is a deeper issue that should be addressed. Since God attributes value to words, this means our speech should line up with His truth. In Ephesians 5:4, the Apostle Paul says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” For the Christian, such speech reflects the heart of someone who does not love God. In seems that we no longer understand that what we say and how we say it is a matter of the heart. What we say often displays what is really in our hearts. Christ underscored this truth when he said,

“...hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:10b-11 (ESV)

I can hear some of the detractors now. “Hey man, when I throw a f-bomb it’s therapeutic! It allows me to blow off steam – to get things off my chest. I really don’t mean to be hateful or crude!” The Scripture also speaks to this lame excuse. “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

In order to be a proper witness, both our words and deeds should reflect the fact that we are a holy people set apart unto God. However, just like other aspects of life where we may struggle, we must ask the Lord to sustain us. We should pray, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

So let’s keep a tighter reign on our words. After all, words are God’s words. When we use profaning words we are profaning the words that belong to God. There is no shame in taking a moment to think before we speak. Perhaps this will prevent you from provoking a bully who would like nothing more than to rearrange your face!

- Jordan McGehee