Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Swearing and Vulgarities

I am from an earlier generation (I'm 70) and some words were not used at home when I was growing up. I realize that our home was not every home, though, and that even back then, the F-word was used in many places, but not in our major films, songs, and print. It bothered me a lot until I began to really look at those words as just words.

Basically, the most vulgar words for body parts, body functions, and sexual acts, are not against God's law. They are just plain coarse and crude, but not sinful.

I thought about how Jesus would view them. I figure that Jesus recruited his apostles from earthy, common men - five were fishermen, one a tax collector, one a Pharisee (zealot, revolutionary, and fanatic), and the others aren't discussed. I'm sure Jesus heard all the latest-and-greatest vulgarities from several of these men. We never hear a word about that in the Bible. Not one verse.

However, we do hear a lot about taking God's name in vain. It is the Second Commandment, almost at the top of God's "Big List of Do's and Don'ts." So, why are we Christians so uptight about the F-word, and so permissive when we hear someone yell, "Oh, my God!" when they are obviously not in prayer with him? When did it become all right to play a solemn hymn like the Hallelujah Chorus in a film to illustrate glorious lovemaking? Why are so we casual about saying, "God damn you!" when we are angry at someone?

That last one is a biggie, too. It literally means we are trying to curse that person into eternal damnation and into hell. Most times, we are only annoyed, not really that furious.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me in the messy situation of ignoring the crude words all around me and more willing to erase the truly sinful ones from my own conversations.

Father, help me, please, to take your Commandments more seriously, and to overlook the crude talk in our world today; fill me with the grace I need to resist taking your name in vain, and to resist cussing at my fellow man.

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