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A PRIMER ON PROFANITY

NEVER USE PROFANITY OR MINCED OATHS: Someone once wrote: “Profanity is simply an evidence of a vulgar mind, sadly perverted, whose influence must inevitably be bad. We pity and loathe the weak mind which falls into a habit so silly, so impotent, and so foolish.” This was true when it was written over 150 years ago, and it is still true, whether applied to an individual or to a society.


Present day America is a tragic example of how profanity both contributes to, and is an evidence of, the moral decline and overall rottenness of a society. It has been a curse to nations since ancient times as illustrated by the prophet Jeremiah’s words to Judah in the 6th century BC: “For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right “ (Jer. 23:10).


Profanity has become popularized and is of epidemic proportion in America today, not at all restricted by age, gender, social status or by how shockingly, obscene, vulgar or blasphemous the words used may be. Millions of American’s mouths need to be washed out with soap or their jaws wired shut. Purity is not possible for a person who uses profanity, civility cannot coexist with it, and those who use foul language can never expect to “find favor” with God or man (Prov. 3:4).


Not so long ago profanity was generally frowned upon and its use strictly forbidden on radio, television and in film. Recently, in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, I noticed the “f” word used in the titles of four different books – for you and me and anybody’s children to see. (What a disgraceful place America has become). Listening to anything ranging from the most popular podcasts, radio and TV programs and much popular so-called music requires of listeners the equivalent of standing immersed in a cesspool up to their earlobes. . Now, profanity of the filthiest kind is almost a constant; again, irrespective of age, gender, education, or position, etc.


Not one positive thing can be said for the use of profanity. For one thing, it has a corrupting and corrosive effect on minds that are defiled each time they are forced to function in the utterance of the toxic talk that is profanity. A certain amount of creeping brain rot is put into play when people use profanity. Secondly, people who use bad language almost always never get to first base in terms of having meaningful relationships with others with whom it is worth having a relationship. Salespeople, because of their crude and nasty language, deprive themselves of hundreds if not thousands of dollars in commissions by offending potential clients and customers. People miss out on employment and are passed over for promotions every day because of their seeming addiction to dirty language.


Some people, a whole lot of them, can’t seem to figure out the obvious connection there is between their profanity and how often they are passed over and lose out in life. Perhaps and probably profanity has made more people more stupid than we think. Here’s a newsflash: Nobody has ever been offended, is offended or will be offended by the non-use of profanity, but plenty of people, probably the vast majority of people, are still offended by it.


Those who use profanity communicate to those who hear it that their company isn’t desirable and their common sense is doubtful. People who use profanity communicate disrespect for others by assuming that others are as comfortable with hearing it as they are with using it — that their listeners are as lame-brained and low-caliber in terms of character as themselves. Profanity never enhances and always diminishes one’s reputation and the influence they might have with anyone else (Something to remember: one never gets a second chance to make a good first impression).


Another thing: so-called minced oaths are something to avoid too because they represent (1) a not-so-subtle substitution for profanity, and (2) the “gateway” speech that leads to the outright use of profanity. The use of either profanity or minced oaths makes “sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8) impossible. Don’t make one word of profanity or a minced oath any part of your vocabulary.


Finally and most importantly, the use of profanity is offensive to the God of heaven and earth. It constitutes rank and deliberate disobedience to God who has said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). (Se also: Ex. 20:7; Ps. 141:3; Matt. 15:11; Eph. 5:4, 5; Col. 4:6; James 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:10).

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