What exactly is so bad about so-called "profanity?" My parents won't let me watch movies with "bad" language. I think their ideas are silly and old-fashioned. What they call "swearing" is just a part of life. My friends at school use four-letter words all the time and it doesn't bother me a bit. Those words can't hurt anybody, and they're nothing but old Anglo Saxon terms for normal bodily functions. They're only "dirty" because some people think they're "dirty." Besides, the Bible doesn't have anything to say against them. Yes, I know it tells us not to take God's name in vain, but that's a whole different issue. Don't you agree?
Let's see what the apostle Paul had to say about the language Christians should use: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29); "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving" (Ephesians 5:3, 4).
While it can be interesting to trace the history of certain words in order to find out why they're now regarded as profanity, this information has nothing to do with the way people use such words in modern times. As Christians, we should consider how these words are perceived in our culture today. If we think about it that way, we'll realize that profanity is always negative and hurtful.
For example, what do people really mean when they use the "f-word"? What is it intended to communicate? How does it feel when someone says it to you? Is there any way to use the "f-word" to build others up? Does it ever benefit those who hear it? Of course not. In fact, it amounts to verbal abuse, and Jesus had some important things to say about the seriousness of that issue (see Matthew 5:22).
If you'd like to discuss this topic in greater depth, call us. Focus on the Family has a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.
Preparing for Adolescence