Friday, July 17, 2009


A few evenings ago, the night air was warm and Christine and I sat on our front porch and enjoyed conversation and a cool drink. Across the street a neighbour’s son and his friend worked on their hot cars. Next to them other neighbours had some friends over. Their conversation carried on the quiet night air so that our entire street could listen to the dialogue which was thick with swearing. The ‘F’ word was adverbially and adjectivally used liberally in a friendly conversation about music styles and music artists. For the men and women in that gathering this was normal. Christine and I found the display crude and tasteless.

Gordie Howe is quoted as saying, “All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.”

We can treat profanity lightly but it affects our social interaction. Our next door neighbours commented to us on the evening of the blue air, that they couldn’t believe the neighbours’ son was so profane. We told them, it was not the teenagers. It was the adults beside him.

Etymologically 'profanity' derives from the word pro (before) and fanum (temple) suggesting that something is outside the temple and therefore not sacred. Profaning language treats it with irreverence and contempt. It debases it. And when the name of God is used in this fashion it is even more offensive because it defiles God’s name.

It can be a hasty exclamation like “Oh God!” that still qualifies as profanity according to this definition and particularly because of God's own prohibitive command. "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:7)

GPS Application
Colossians 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Psalm 19:14: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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