By cathy nethercutt
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I want to preface this with a disclaimer of sorts; this is not a “holier than thou” statement. I have had, in my lifetime, a time that my mouth was filled with profanities. I know how I feel about that time, and wish I could take all of it back, but it’s not possible.
I grew up hearing profanity of every filthy and vulgar type hurled from my father’s mouth when he was enraged to the point of having what would seem to be a tantrum. Unfortunately, it also included some physical abuse directed mostly at my mother, but sometimes anyone that got in the path of his destruction. Never any other time did he utter those words, except to call my mother terribly vulgar names when he was mildly upset. So, when I hear someone spew a mouthful of those, it is very much a trigger for me. Something in me wants to run and hide again to escape the tempest.
Why, I wonder, do we want to poison our words with the venom of profanity? Instead of gaining the wisdom and sincerity of our words, the poison has the lasting emphasis of them on the lives of those who hear. It is a poison that acts quickly on the heart and soul, sometimes to the point of fatality. Some of us use them so much that every word we utter has become empty and shallow, no meaning in our conversations except the poison, even seemingly unnoticed by those that speak them.
Some of us only use them sparingly, maybe to “flavor” our conversation. Why do we seek to add small doses of poison to the words that otherwise nurture those we speak to? The effect of the poison is cumulative, I believe.
It speaks bitterness into what are generally good words, but cheapens them ‘til they become like the “cure-all” tonic harped by the traveling salesmen of yesteryear. Those interspersed profanities remove the power from important conversation and replace it with useless “potions” that weaken instead of strengthening our words.
Lately, dealing with the past more than I care to, I have had words come to mind and even occasionally slip from my mouth. Immediately, I am sorry. I feel like I have slapped my Savior in the face, to speak in such a manner as to demean my witness of Him in my life. I am convinced and convicted that such conversation will do nothing to edify the church, or others, or even myself.
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