PROFANITY IS A DESTROYER!

Rev. Peter Migner

THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 2. Fall 2017. Volume 36.

Dec. 16, 2017



When I was growing up as a young man the first foul language I was exposed to was sexual vulgarity in middle school. I would never speak the words I heard among my school and neighborhood friends at home and I certainly do not ever recall my parents using those words in their conversation or anger. The worst words I recall my parents use were the words damn and hell (abbreviation for con- demnation to hell). When I heard those words they were never used in the context of speak- ing about God and spiritual matters. When I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, and re- ceived the Lord as my personal Savior I dis- covered how foul-mouthed I actually was and how I needed to change my word choices. This was not something anyone had to teach me as the Lord taught me the next day. But it took me weeks to train my thinking to stop using those words.

There are really only three categories of vulgar and profane language that mankind will ever use. I will share that a little later, but no matter what language in the world you speak there are only three categories of cursing, profanity and vulgarity that humanity uses in the futility of their thinking.

The Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). In the Old Testament one of the commands of God to Moses was to not take the Lord God's name in vain. The Jews regarded God's name so holy that not only did they avoid using his name even in context, they also dropped vowels from his name so as not to say it exactly as it is. Because of that we have the name Jehovah as part of his original name.

A Jewish rabbi named Daniel Lapin notes that the Hebrew language is derived from God and God's Word and there are actually no Hebrew curse words in the language. He says if a present day Hebrew speaking Jew wants to curse he has to borrow words from other languages like Arabic. It is interesting that the third command in Exodus 20 is that we are not to misuse the name of the Lord. So why is that? When I am in a group of people and I hear someone invoke my name "for Pete's sake" I turn my head because I hear my name. In the Old Testament, names had meanings and people lived up to their names. In the New Testament, Jesus said that our yes was to be yes and our no was to be no. We are not to bear false witness, for our words have meanings and definitions and they invoke power. Matthew 12:24 says that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Psalms 34:13 says, "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking evil."

Recently I was talking with missionaries from a French-speaking country. Somehow we got discussing words and their meanings. No matter what the language or the sound of the words, there are just three areas we invoke profanity, vulgarity and cursing. You see as hu- mans we communicate with our words. We may act innocent of the words we choose, or we may truly be ignorant; but basically most people know what they are saying when they curse. The more words we know, the better we can communicate. The Bible says that we speak from the heart and that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruits (Proverbs 18:21).

Recently I was talking with missionaries from a French-speaking country. Somehow we got discussing words and their meanings. No matter what the language or the sound of the words, there are just three areas we invoke profanity, vulgarity and cursing. You see as hu- mans we communicate with our words. We may act innocent of the words we choose, or we may truly be ignorant; but basically most people know what they are saying when they curse. The more words we know, the better we can communicate. The Bible says that we speak from the heart and that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruits (Proverbs 18:21).

Public cursing and vulgarity began to be released through TV and the airwaves back in the 1960s. Prior to that, what the public heard was clean and wholesome speech for the most part. Today our entire nation is being polluted with sick talk and language on every corner, but the biggest tragedy is that it has slid into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We even have pastors in our generation who drop profane words for shock value and use sexual slang as common speech. Even the smallest children who are not even mature enough to do the things they speak of use such words commonly. We as the church of Jesus Christ need to turn around our nation and make our nation holy again.

Those who are reading this know that we are not redeemed by rules or laws, but yet rules and laws are to be written on the tablets of our hearts when we receive the Holy Spirit. Paul was writing to the believers in Ephesus when he noted how they were to put off the old self and put on the new self. In Ephesians 4:17 Paul says that we are not to live like the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking. I have heard people make up words that sound like curse words as if that is better. How we think is how we talk, and how we talk is what our thinking heart is made of. Watch a dozen movies a month with vulgarity and cursing and you increase your probability to think and talk like that. When I first became a Christian, my pastor taught us that we should turn off our TVs or walk out of a movie that took God's name in vain or used vulgar language. Why has the church lowered the standard on speech and language?

There are three areas of profanity in life that are to be private, honorable and protected. When we use words or substitute words similar to words associated with these three areas in defaming ways then we are speaking with the futility of our minds. The first area is when we speak of sexuality among men or women or in mixed company where we mock, belittle or berate others or speak of such sexual acts that dishonor the marriage bed. When we tear down another human being with sexual language we are succumbing to the futile thinking of the godless. When we speak of any of the sexual parts of the human anatomy in such a way to dishonor it, make humor of it, or use slang about it, we are profaning what God created and intended to be private between a male and a female. Sexuality is to be sacred, holy, beautiful and respectable. The words we use in our conversations matter in all relationships. How we talk in business, in friendships and in marriage determines success and failure. If you curse daily and then go to a job interview and intentionally try not to curse, your mind will struggle with proper replacement words and will reflect in your ability to communicate quickly and promptly. God wants you to start thinking and talking like he thinks and talks. James asks, "Who can tame the tongue?" Man can't, but God can because with God all things are possible. Read Paul's admonishment in Ephesians 4:29, but read the whole paragraph. We are to be different and to even think differently than those lost souls in our world.

The second category of profanity is vulgarizing bathroom talk. When we use words and slang in any language that reflects the things we do in the bathroom by way of excrement we miss the mark of how God intends us to communicate with one another. Urine and feces have been hijacked into all kinds of slang and vulgar terms to express other experiences and frustrations of life that have nothing to do with such. It might be a figure of speech to some, but it is vulgar and rude and futile thinking.

Last of all, but certainly not least, is the taking of the names of God in vain. He is holy, and all his names are holy. When we use God's names as an expression of shock, excitement, surprise or fear when we are not actually calling upon him, then we are cursing against heaven, breaking a covenantal commandment and diminishing our reputation among men.

Eternity is real and so is God, heaven, hell and the final judgment. As an example, when we say things like "Oh my God!" we may not mean what we say, but we said it as a vain expression. We do these types of things for a variety of reasons - being lazy, conforming to others, lack of vocabulary or lacking control of our emotions. Only God can and will condemn a soul or a devil to a place of torment. If we really wanted God to condemn someone then we obviously do not understand the character of God.

A few weeks ago I was in a small café in Watkinsville, Georgia. I was having a cup of coffee and reading and studying. People came and left and then I was the only customer in the room. At that point a man came in from outside. He obviously had been eating on the porch. He came in and started cursing at the owner about his meal. He used sexual foul language repeatedly and loudly about his bad experience with his hamburger. He did not care that a customer was there and even said that he did not care that I was there. He really lacked words to express his anger and he did not stop for around four minutes. He insulted the owner, and even when he was offered a refund he kept at it with vulgar, obscene lan- guage. Within a few minutes the owner was crying and the customer was apologizing and refusing to take his refund. It was really bad, but this stuff happens all the time across our nation in public as no other generation ever has had to endure. We are reaping as a nation fifty years of increased vulgarity in our media and entertainment. This man's language and behavior was coming from his futile thinking in his mind. While this was going on I was praying. Before he left the restaurant he was apologizing over and over, yet the damage was done and the owner kept saying "please leave." No money or apology was turning that experience around quickly. Public shame will only be restored as believers raise the bar, resist the flood of obscenities flooding our modern times and pray to make a verbal difference.

So how does vulgarity, profanity and cursing defeat you? If you use language like this, you are separating yourself from future success, your fellow man and God. If you talk like this at home you will talk like this in public. Even though this type of language is more culturally acceptable today than it's ever been, that does not mean everyone is like this. When we use bad language and words we reveal our shallow, futile thinking and our ungodly character. God created our minds and hearts to reflect him and give him glory, and when we allow ourselves to speak to each other and express our hearts with slang and vulgar words and phrases we will limit our potential among men and God.

Our words create a path of destruction or success for our days. Words are our tools. The more tools you have in your tool chest the bet- ter job you can do in life with others. When we allow ourselves to be exposed to words in media, movies and literature that the preceding generation never tolerated, we will pay the price sooner or later. When we allow our children to be entertained by movies that should make us blush versus laugh we need to review our standards. It's time for the people of God to raise the standard of our thinking to a level like unto our God. The bedroom talk should stay in the bedroom; and bathroom language, when necessary, should be decent and in context. Our words at all times should be honoring to our fellow man and our God.

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