Some banter on the Twittersphere last night had me thinking about the vernacular our culture has embraced in recent years. In particular, "potty mouth" language and why some of it is acceptable in "educated" circles, while other vulgarity is deemed improper for all. Ye be warned... I'm jumping up on my soapbox to rant.
Remember the days when a man wouldn't curse in front of a woman? Quite honestly, I don't. I do find it adorable however, when an older guy lets one slip in my presence and then falls all over himself apologizing. I wonder... did women's rights empower men to curse in our presence? Ladies... are the men in your life embarrassed if something slips out... and if they're not, are you OK with that?
Then there's that little issue of it's OK for adults but not the children. Most respectable adults will still shudder and rebuke some innocent child who spews out a bit of garbage they heard mom or dad say. What's that now? You don't curse in front of your kids? I've got news for you: someone is ALWAYS listening. Oh, but you can curse on your social media sites because your kids don't have access to them? You did realize that OTHER people's kids do though, right? Here's the bottom line: if you can't say it in front of children, is it really necessary that you say it at all? I'm guessing not.
Hypothetically speaking, let's take my friend Sean Hannity. Sean is a GREAT American who has developed a virtual army of followers on Twitter. Without question, Mr. Hannity is the most engaged, accessible, conservative "star" in the social media world. He answers questions, political or personal. He'll debate you, talk to you, tell you about his dog, give life advice, or if you get too out of line... he'll flat out block you. But what would happen if someone like Mr. Hannity used the phrase WTH in his tweeting? Picture this:
Little Johnny chases his sister through the house yelling, "What the ----, Susie! Give me back my lollipop!" Johnny's Mommy quickly apprehends the little man, demanding an explanation. "WHAT did you say, Johnny?" "What the ----, Mommy! Sean Hannity says it and you watch him every night!"
Obviously, this would never happen. Or could it? Moving on...
In actuality, whether by our culture or the brainwashing of vulgarity filled TV, most cursing doesn't cause me to grimace. It's a free country, say whatever you want. Just don't expect me to. That said, I do take offense when people curse or make light of the very core of my faith. If you use the names of Jesus or God in my presence, I'm expecting you to pray and I will ask you to do so. (Just ask the little campers I used to work with every summer.) Don't do it.
But going back to the WTH reference. Oh, relax, it's just an expression. Sorry, not true. Hell is a literal place. Our culture has taken a literal place, a place more terrible than man can imagine, and turned it into a ridiculous, meaningless expression. We say, "heavens to Betsy" and "WTH" as common expressions... and then we wonder why people don't believe either actually exist.
Have you ever noticed that tenants of the Christian faith are somehow the only "religious" terms eligible for the lingo of curse? I ask you... When was the last time you saw a guy back into a fire hydrant only to jump out of his car and yell, "Buddha!" What dad sees his six year old kid about to shave the family cat and cries, "What the jahannam?!?" That's the Islamic term for "hell".)Or how about the teen that gets frustrated at his mistaken fast food order, looks at his buddy and says, "Mohammed! These people can't get anything right!"
And while I'm on a role here... how is it that we have taken the greatest expression of human love and turned it into the most crude, insulting four letter word in our vocabulary? Oh, and when you said you wanted to "F" that person, I had a question. Did you really want to? No? So, why did you say it?
Why do you say what you say? Do you think about the words that come out of your mouth before they do?
The things that come out of your mouth - whether by your voice, social media network, text, whatever - they are a reflection of what's in your heart. So don't just watch your language, guard your heart.
Jesus said it best. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." ~Luke 6:45
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
With apologies to my friend Sean... ;-)
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Follow me on Twitter: @FriddleTweet