Words are powerful. There is no doubt about it.
I think people are not paying enough attention to their words. It is as though most of the population is unable to form a sentence, thought, or idea without using profanity to some extent. How depressing is that?! Expressions or acronyms (like af, lmfao, omfg, tf, wtf, etc) are so ingrained in our society that I don’t think people even realize that they are cursing when they use them. In fact, most people don’t even consider words like “hell” or “ass” to be curse words…which they are. What is even sadder is that Christians seem just a prone to this as others. Too many of my Christian friends use profanity, or at least don’t see the problem with it. People have forgotten the power and impact of what they say.
I have a huge problem with cursing/profanity. Anyone who knows me is very aware that this is an issue I am particularly passionate about, so I am prone to a fair amount of bias. However, it took me a long time to come to this conclusion. Growing up, I was relatively sheltered and was unaware of this genre of words for a long time. Once introduced, I was heavily informed that these words were not to be used under any circumstance. Although I took my parents’ word for it, I always wondered why? These were just words. And these words had synonyms that were relatively harmless (for the most part), so I couldn’t figure out what made these specific words so powerful.
A few weeks ago, I watched the movie “Joyful Noise” with my mom. (It is a great movie by the way! I really enjoyed it!) There was one specific scene that caught my attention in regards to this issue. The main characters, played by Keke Palmer, and her mother, played by Queen Latifah, have a huge fight (teenage girl is being petty and immature – pretty typical, right?). In the midst of it, the daughter drops a few curse words, to the surprise of her Christian mother. Why did she do this? To intimidate her mom? To assert dominance? I think the reason people do this in arguments is to try and gain control of the conversation. It is amazing how dropping a few choice words can seemingly give someone the illusion of power and confidence. Okay, back to the movie – I LOVE her mom’s response!! Being the boss that she is, Queen Latifah’s character responds with her own cuss word, followed by the line, “Yeah, that’s right. I can cuss too. *insert another string of explicit words* It is lazy and it has no class, but it isn’t hard.”
It is not hard. It is not something that only a few people can do. Nonetheless, it is disrespectful. It is something that weak and lazy people do try and wield power they don’t deserve. Cursing may give the illusion of power, but in reality it is a sign of immaturity and cowardice. So respect yourself, the people around you, and most importantly respect God by watching your words and eliminating words from your vocabulary that are dishonoring to Him.
Regardless of what I think, the Bible is very clear about God’s stance on cursing. Whether you are cursing to be funny, emphasize a point, or express emotion, the Bible leaves no room for debate that it is not pleasing to God.
Here are just a few verses (of the many) that show the Bible’s stance on watching your words:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
“..and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.”
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
1 Peter 3:10
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”
“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”
2 Timothy 2:16
“But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness…”
“The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.” (I am not trying to have my tongue cut out, folks.)
“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”
“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be setting an example? We are supposed to be trying to honor God in all that we do, especially in how we speak! This goes for cursing and any other ‘unwholesome language’ coming out of our mouths. How is the rest of the world going to figure out that this is wrong if we just join in with them? If nothing else can convince you to change the way you speak, let obedience to God convince you. There are lots of things that are hard about living a life for Him and this is just another one of them.
What bothers me so much is that profanity is 100% unnecessary. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE IT! People can still say what they want to without ever using a single curse word. This is what makes it lazy. Rather than learn or think, people take the shortcut (cursing) and come across sounding as uninformed and oblivious as they are. Also, people are not considered weird or outcasts if they refrain from it. People aren’t peer pressured to curse in the same way they are peer pressured to drink, smoke, or have sex. It isn’t like everyone hangs out and talks about all the f-bombs they dropped this weekend. There is no down side to keeping your speech pure.
Bottom line: All people have gotten sloppy with their speech (Yes Christians, we need to step our game up big time). Pick your words wisely and remember that your words are powerful and they speak to your character. Choose to speak in a way that reflects the best of you and that honors and obeys the commandments of God.