Watch Your Language!

(Warning: This post contains implied language that will be offensive to the reader. No, my site has not been hijacked, it is used with a purpose to make a point. It is also not done lightly or without consideration. Please take the time to read this article to the end, your soul might just depend on it.)

G____ Almighty! I am not a f______ animal. So stop with this s____. J____! This d_______ lie is not going to go unanswered, that’s for g________ sure. What the h___ are people thinking?

If you feel that you need to wash your ears out after reading what you just “heard,” I am thankful. Such is the harsh, vulgar, and coarse nature of the language constantly being used around us. It is language with which the world sees no problem, and unfortunately it is language that some members of the church have no qualms with emulating.

But before someone gets their dander up at the audacity of making such a “judgmental” statement about members of the church, consider the following: Paul argued to the Colossians that our speech should be, “Always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). The word translated “grace” comes from the Greek word charis which means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; good will, loving-kindness, favor” (Thayer). Additionally, the phrase “seasoned with salt” is from a Greek idiom that means “to use good sense,” or in our terminology – to be used appropriately. Our speech is to be kind, that which brings joy and which is used appropriately with good sense. Does anything in the usage of the words and phrases in the prior paragraph fit that description?

Nevertheless, many Christians insist on using the same coarse language as those out in the world. If you do not believe me, consider the next paragraph:

Gosh Almighty! I am not a fricking animal. So stop with this crap. Jeez! This dang lie is not going to go unanswered, that’s for dadgum sure. What the heck are people thinking?

Sound any better? Not really, and there is a reason for that. The words that were just used in the previous paragraph mean the exact same thing as the words used in the first one. They are euphemisms – different words with the same meaning that are generally considered to be “easier on the ears.” However, it is time that Christians stop lying to themselves and others with their language. On the whole, people know what it is that they are saying (and if they don’t, they should not be saying it anyway). A cursory glance at the dictionary would show anyone that the euphemisms used mean the exact same thing as the vulgarities they replace. Therefore, there is no distinguishable difference between the two phrases. The greatest difference is the gasp of shock I would have heard from most people upon reading the first paragraph, and the utter detachment with which many of those same people will use the words in the second. Friends, we need to stop pretending we do not know that what we are saying is wrong. If we have any form of a pure conscience it is self-evident.

When Peter was present at the Lord’s trials and was confronted with the accusation of being one of the Lord’s disciples, his final means of evasion was, “Then began he to curse and to swear” (Mat. 26:74). Peter knew that nothing would disassociate him faster from Jesus than to use language that no follower of Jesus would use. There was a standard that Jesus expected of his disciples that is explained in Matthew 5:34-37; there Jesus concludes with the statement: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (ESV). Jesus states that the inclusion of curses and swearing into our language holds nothing good, nor does it come from godliness. Can either of the above phrases be considered spoken with kindness, good-will, or charm? Can either of them be considered use of good sense and appropriate? Then why do we use them and pretend there is no problem?

It is recognized that the tongue is one of the most difficult and troublesome parts of the body (Jam. 3). Nevertheless, we must keep it under control. Often times we feel the need to make a statement associated with everything that happens in life: good, bad, or otherwise; we need to learn that, on many of those occasions, the best answer is silence and biting our tongues.

I am not an animal (I have a conscience with which to control myself). So stop with this insanity (Proclaiming there is nothing wrong with vile, coarse language). This lie is not going to go unanswered, that’s for sure (We will all give an account for what we have done in our bodies – 2 Cor. 5:10). What are people thinking?

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Watch Your Language!

  1. Michael

    Very well said, and very much needed. Thanks brother…

  2. Tammy

    Very good article, thank you. What are your thoughts on words/phrases like Wow, Aw man, Oh dear, etc.

    • This is an area that requires care and concern. Not all exclamations are wrong and vulgar. The term “wow,” for instance, is defined as an interjection expressing surprise and excitement. It is not a vulgarity, nor a curse. Therefore, I can see no sense in which it violates Col. 4:6 unless it is being misused. The phrase “oh dear” is not a curse as generally used, but is defined as an affectionate statement of pity about a given situation. Again, it may be misused, but that is the way the term is intended to be used.

      However, some phrases (such as ‘aw, man’) are intended to be euphemistic exclamations to take the place of the name of God, thus they are trying to utter a curse by simply changing the focus of the title. This violates Colossians 4:6 and would be filed under occasions where it is better to keep one’s mouth shut.

      Again, these types of phrases and statements need to be taken on a case by case basis. The word or phrase may not, in and of itself, be wrong or vulgar, but if you are using it for the purpose of a curse to replace something distasteful, it has become nothing more than a euphemism and must be approached as such.

      Those are my humble thoughts on the matter. Thanks for your question.

      • MHolcomb

        I’m not sure I agree with the “aw man.” being representative for God’s name. For example, if I had my heart set on getting to go on vacation to, let’s say Europe, and I find out I’m not going to be able to go, and I say, “aw man!” I am not trying to say, “aw God!” I’m trying to say, “sigh…I’m disappointed.” LOL! I do agree with words such as gosh, OMG, darn, heck… all obviously replacements for certain words.

  3. Good article, Adam. I get so tired, and ESP upset when I heard Christians using that kind of language.

  4. I am sorry brother but I think the writing of this Artical was an act of very poor judgment. Every Christian who reads it is lead to fill in the blanks with the cuss words intended. Hence causing them to sin. Christians should avoid such language and thoughts at all cost. I am afraid of what was in your mind at the time of writing. Next time please use better judgment and just say something like: “we have all heard people using vulgarities and shamelessly taking the Lords name in vain…” I know that you disclaimer was I tended to curb criticism and I don’t mean to be critical but I know you would not like to stand before the seat of God and be found guilty of leading the minds of men to these deeps.

    • Bro. Murrell, I appreciate your concern and opinion on the article but I must respectfully disagree with you. In the first place, with the way it was inserted there is no way for an individual to “fill in the blanks” if the words were not already in their present understanding. I would also disagree with your statement that the ability to fill in the words is a sin, it simply means you have walked outside your doors and heard people talk around you or read a news article on the internet.

      Second, I have tried the approach you suggested and, frankly, it does not work. It has been my experience that until people are forced to face just exactly what it is they are saying in the presence of God in no uncertain terms, it is not generally enough to force them to change.

      Third, if you read the Scriptures you will, on occasion, find God using his prophets and preachers to offend the sensibilities of the listeners as a means of waking them up to the folly of their actions. If you disagree, please reread the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, not to mention Paul’s statements concerning circumcision in Galatians 5.

      I do not know if you read the whole article or stopped with the first paragraph, but my intent is not to cause anyone to sin: in fact it is quite the opposite. I want people to see what they are saying, to be faced with it point blank, and be forced to decide whether they want to stand before God with such concepts on their ledger. As to what I was thinking as I wrote these things, I was thinking of all of the times where I have heard members of the body of Christ say exactly the things mentioned in the article, and how I could reach them with the truth. I am sorry if this offends your sensibilities, and actually I am thankful it does, but I will not remove the article.

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