(Oct 31, 2014)
Recently, in a correspondence with an atheist nephew, the question came up about the use of profanity in our exchange. Then, a few days later, I watched a movie, “Chef” that was very well done, almost inspirational in its treatment of passion. But, the movie was filled with profanity. So, I have been thinking about the matter, and here is my take. What is the big deal about profanity?
So, what makes a word profane. If you think about it, most cuss words are one of three categories; sexual (acts or body parts), body wastes, and of or relating to God. In the olden days, (when I was a kid) cursing was usually used in a situation of anger, pain, or extreme emphasis. My dad was not one who cussed, but I remember one time in high school when a friend of mine was staying with us when his parents were out of town. We sneaked out of the house about 11:00 pm, and were gone for a couple of hours. Upon our return, we opened a door to a very angry and upset father who only used the one word “Damn…” for emphasis as to the severity in his mind of the wrong we committed. I never forgot it.
Sadly, today, profanity laced speech is considered normal. It no longer emphasizes a point, expresses extreme anger, or anything like it used to. It is generally used as any part of speech that it can be used, happy, sad, or neutral. Television reality shows, still bleep most of the words, but it is obvious that that will not continue for long, as the normal speech among the hip is laced with words that used to be considered crude and vulgar. The problem is, there are many who still consider them crude and vulgar.
So, is cussing really no big deal? Our culture has shifted away from one of respect, courtesy, honor. We now do what we want, when we want, because that is what we want. The problem goes way beyond what words we use to express ourselves. The problem begins in our heart. The words that pour from our mouths are only the overflow of a human, generally selfish, self-centered heart. I really cannot blame the natural ones for the way they express themselves; they have no choice. The evil that dwells in us all will come out one way or another.
But, I figure Jesus heard the coarse language of His day as well. When He heard the words, he saw the heart that needed what He was bringing.
Young men and women of today’s generation, if you really have His life in you, think about it when you lower your level of speech to the common, unregenerate level. You carry a treasure in you. When the treasure flows out, your Father is pleased, and when you feel His pleasure, you find Joy.