*Say No To Profanity* By: James Cook
Years ago I would find it insulting when someone would tell me to watch my language in front of others, but it was understandable in the presence of women outside my circle of peers. The painful thing about it was, that I was using profanity as my main language, and English as a second, and how dare anyone try and change me. However, there were those who expressed themselves quite boldly of how degrading it was to listen to me. Sitting in an AA meeting, the chairman asked me if I had anything to say, and being so vocal I started to speak with every second word being profanity. While sharing my thoughts and insightfullness, the chairman shared his by telling me, "to be quiet if that is the only way I could speak, and there was no place for that gutter trash in here. Until you learn how to speak, and respect mixed company you just sit there and keep quiet". This really injured my manly pride, and I thought if only he knew who he was talking to he wouldn't be saying this to me, never mind in front of everyone. This tough macho man turned into a mouse, and did it hurt to sit there while he was sharing his thoughts while I felt like melting under the table.
The moments slipped by, the meeting came to an end, we said the Lord's Prayer, I tried to sneak out, and he called my name and said, "come here you little punk we are going to have a talk". I am still thinking, if only he knew who I was, then all of a sudden he grabbed my coat collar, marched me to a table, and said we are going to have a talk. I had no choice, so he made the decision for me. Me being all of about 140lbs. at this point, and him about 350+lbs., I soon learnt what a higher power was all about, I came to learn he didn't care who he was talking to, and I came to learn that I had better listen or else. This happened a few times, but when I look back on these times, I have come to know just how honoured I was to have him come into my life, and teach me to be more respectful around others in speech and actions. God used this man to help me move past my standards in how I presented myself. At the time, I didn't care how much he thought he knew, until I saw how much he really cared for my character to change for the better. Do I use any profanity now, there are times I do, but it is usually when I am angry, hurt, and etc. Today, I am very conscious on how I act or speak, and when I do fail, I repent out of honour and respect toward God, myself, and for my peers.
Today, when I put God first above all else, then all my words and actions will be done unto Him. I excercise my best for Him, I am still prone to failure, but God knows I am trying in all my imperfections. There are more actions stated in Col 3:8, and they are very important, but what stands out to me is that each one can impact my words, whether directly or indirectly. When we are in a battle, there are times our emotions can get away on us, and we start to use terms that we would never use otherwise.
Colossians 3:8 (NIV), "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips".
This can appear to be a huge demand to fulfill when we are moving into a life of respect and honour toward Jesus Christ, and after we have lived a life in contrast to His teachings. If we go against His teachings, then we are submitting to the teachings of His enemy, and we must decide who's teachings we want to follow. In this text, Paul is trying to appeal to the committment we made to Jesus, and how we should remain true to that committment. This is all part of ridding ourselves from the old life, and take up the new life in Christ Jesus, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.
To further expound on this topic, we must be open to the Holy Spirit where it states in Ephesians 5:4," Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving"(NIV). How many of us take for granted that any form of foul talk in conversations are the norm in these days, and some will say they are only words. The Apostle Paul cautions, that this should not be any part of the Christians conversations. When we look in the mirror, can we honestly say, to the one looking back at us, that the words departing from our lips building up others, or giving thanksgiving for all our blessings, or are they dedicated to the norm of the day.
A few years ago I took a course that reflected human behaviours, and it was interesting to learn what motivates those who use profanity, slander, gossip, and etc. Usually, those who use profanity quite frequent were doing this because they didn't think they were being listened to while they spoke respectfully, some thought it made them sound tougher, others used it to draw attention to themselves, others used it to be cool with their peers, many fall into it by being overstressed in their daily lives, but regardless it became a learnt behaviour, and I wasn't any better.
Sitting back and reflecting on it, it is devasting how we sacrifice our self respect by believing assumptions that we adopt to justify vulgar ways. After overcoming this, I have come to learn that not everyone listens anyway, but those who are important to me try their best to hear what I am saying. I don't need to try and prove my toughness anymore, and I don't need any negative attention for my learnt behaviours. The greatest gift of all is that we can learn how to undo our learnt behaviours, and go forward in a respectful manner for God, for ourselves, and for those around us.
Being a representative of God, we can show the world there is more to life than being followers. When we take a lead role in a honourable and respectful manner, we can show the world there is a respectful way by adopting God's example in the way we act and speak. Isn't it time to be a role model, and set the example for the world to see? We are the only living example of God that others may ever see, and if we fail to show our Father to them, then maybe we need to do an adjustment in our lives so we can reflect God as we should, and show gratitude for what Christ did on the Cross for us in order for us to die to our old self and put on the new.
Therefore, let's strive to give up profanity and come back to verbal sanity. There is one way to achieve this goal, and it says, "Disclipine yourselves to the pupose of Godliness", 1 Tim 4:7, and this can be achieved because it says in (Romans 8:26 NLT)”And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…”. This tells me that He is our strength and we can do all things with Him. Just think, to give up something for Him, with Him, and through Him we will be overcomers in those things that separate us from Him, which in turn separates us from our own self respect, and that separates us from those who can get offended by our speech/actions. As Christians, we are the ones who are suppose to role model Godly practices for those who are still seeking the greatest gift that we have been graced with, and if they fail to see it in us, then where will they see it. In order to change, there has to be something others see in order to change for the greater good, and the Greater Good is the Greatest God that sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to show us all the Greatest Good.
PS: 1 Timothy 4:7 "Disclipine yourselves to the purpose of Godliness"