Foul Play with Foul Language
Recently, I noticed an article arguing for the “fair use” of foul language, by Christians. Yes, you read that correctly. According this point of view, the use of profanity, obscenity and vulgarity is acceptable, in certain circumstances, depending on a person’s intention, and depending on the context
Apparently some are even under the mistaken impression that using foul language is part of what it takes to prove you are no pietist, as if such behavior is even some sort of evidence of your credentials as a steadfast Lutheran. What a tragic contradiction of God’s Holy Word. It is simply foul play with foul language.
God’s Word is quite plain regarding these matters:
“Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” (Matthew 10:17-20)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)
It is undeniable that foul language appears in our minds and on our tongues and in our mouths far too often. But this is not to be celebrated, excused, or explained away, nor should we be trying to find ways to “nuance” the clear texts of Sacred Scripture to somehow make ourselves feel better about it.
This is a matter of God pleasing and God-honoring behavior, to which we are called, in Christ.
Can anyone really, honestly, say as they reflect on the words here that have been proposed as being “ok” in some circumstances, that their use is faithful to God’s word given to us through St. Paul?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil. 4:8
And let us also keep in mind the warning of James:
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
Dear Lord, guard my thoughts and my words. In your word you tell me: “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.” (Proverbs 10:32). Forgive me for my sinful speech and language. Cleanse and pardon me for the sake of Christ Jesus my Lord and help me always to honor you with my words. Amen.