"Excuse my French." Most of us are familiar with this attempt to forgive one's use of profanity. I'm not sure how the French are to blame since none of the vocabulary lists in my Whitehall High School French class included any expletives. But this begging of one's pardon by disguising our English obscenity in the French language is becoming commonplace.
Cartoons attempt to shield the reader from inappropriate words by replacing the oafish with a grawlix (#*$@%&) which acts as a substitute for a crude word. This courtesy was not practiced around the branding corrals of my upbringing. Nor were substitutes used in the military units I was attached to where sexually demeaning talk emboldened the proud psyche to exert dominance. I must say, though, that I know of a successful outfitter in Park county, a man's man, who puts a firm stop to vulgarity when hunters are in certain settings, which is quite honorable.
Yet, in our news we increasingly hear of sexual harassment in the workplace and on campus that often includes the use of lewd words while making obscene advances. Some sporting events are marred and spoiled by coaches, players and fans who resort to foul language as a form of competitive bullying. In January of this year, an NFL coach unleashed a locker room, post-game tirade that was live-streamed. Afterward, the coach's embarrassed father went public to apologize for the regrettable language of his high-profile son. Some hardworking sectors in our society are known for unprofessional, defamatory vocabulary. Some political leaders deem it expedient in making their case to interject a well-placed crude expression.
And sadly, some within the religious community have adopted a form of non-literal cussing. This formulaic, cloaked version of cursing seeks to join in with the attitudinal nuances of swearing without uttering the actual, raw syllables. Maybe it's to appear relevant, in control, or to simply be accepted in our present society. But as a former denominational leader once said, "It's still equivalent to lining one's speech with garbage."
George Washington wrote, "The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it." Note: only people of character despise it.
When a human heart sees cursing as acceptable instead of appalling, cool instead of crude, being focused instead of being foul, motivational instead of being ill-mannered, tough instead of being tasteless, resolved instead of being rude, something is clearly wrong with the human heart.
Jesus the Messiah, our Creator God, said in Matthew 12:34 (KJV), "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." To borrow a common saying, "The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart."
When the human heart thinks little of Jesus the Christ, the mouth feels free to use His name as a cuss word.
When the human heart thinks little of God and little of the literal judgement to come, the mouth feels free to use flippantly the Bible's fearful terminology of God, hell and damnation.
It has been said that everyone is a theologian. Everyone has either a high or a low view of God-related matters. Some are poor theologians when it comes to thoughtlessly referencing sacred titles and terms as if they belong in the list of uncouth statements that depict human anatomy and bodily functions.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 (NASB), "Every careless word that people speak, they will give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgement."
King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:24 (NIV), "Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips."
The Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 4:29 (NLT), "Do not use foul or abusive language."
Again, the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
Has your speech proven that you need a new heart before giving account on the Day of Judgment? Begin by sincerely calling upon the divine person of Jesus Christ, the God-man, to find forgiveness and to receive a spiritually-minded heart. Next, locate a Bible-centered local church and begin taking in instruction that will reorient your thought processes. Then begin living and talking like a truly God fearing believer as reflected in Psalm 19:14: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my (new) heart, be pleasing in your sight, O Lord ... my redeemer."