"It's just a word," one young co-worker proclaimed.
"Choose another one," she tersely replied.
Why anyone would think that filthy language was appropriate in a professional setting, I cannot imagine. But then I go out in the world and hear children saying words I would never have breathed aloud when I was young—not if I wanted to sit down again any time soon.
I am not just talking about the four letter words that people usually consider "dirty" or even taking the Lord's name in vain. As a culture we have become crude and vulgar. Lucy and Ethel had us rolling in the floor as we watched their antics on the candy wrapping conveyor belt and in the wine vat. Now we seem to require a heavy dose of bathroom humor or sexual innuendo before anything is deemed funny.
And talk about hypocrisy—the same media that berates the president for his bad language gives us a show called "S*****'s Creek" and a movie called "Meet the F*****s" with all the attendant jokes that can obviously be made from those two titles. I won't dignify them with their supposedly cleaned up names.
Do you think it hasn't affected Christians? I hear words all the time that I would never have been allowed to say without being punished. No, they aren't "dirty" words. They're just crude. Swear words aren't the only words Christians shouldn't be speaking. I regularly delete posts on Facebook from my brothers and sisters that a Christian shouldn't have spoken aloud to a few, much less put out there for literally thousands to see, demeaning their purity and holiness.
Our culture has even managed to make it acceptable to use one of the ugliest phrases in our language, a phrase that would have ended up in a parking lot beat down when I was a child. And the younger generation steadfastly refuses to accept its origin just because they can find no one who knows it either. My poor husband wound up vilified once because he dared suggest that a brother shouldn't use that term, which refers to a homosexual act. Even if the younger generation refuses to recognize the vulgarity for what it is, we older folks know exactly what it means and "everyone says it" never has been and never will be an acceptable excuse.
Is it really that important? Paul says it is.
And there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Eph 5:4) That term "coarse jesting" is actually one word in the Greek and it isn't necessarily talking about dirty jokes. It's talking about crudity, vulgarity, double entendres, and any other sort of coarse language. It refers to bathroom humor, bodily functions, sexual innuendo and anything that should be unacceptable in polite society, and even more so among those who claim lives of purity. Look at the rest of the context.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:3-5).
Do you see the implications Paul makes? If I speak like this, I am impure, immoral, and not fit to be in the kingdom. That's how important this is. We are supposed to be different. How will it be known if we sound just like everyone else, and laugh at the same crude humor? Remember the old Ivory Soap ads? "99 and 44/100th percent pure," they claimed. We should be trying for a purity even beyond that, but we end up looking like someone dropped us in a tar pit when we open our mouths.
I am not some ignorant fool who does not realize that Paul spoke from time to time in figures that were shocking. I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision, (Gal 5:12) is a prime example. But let me ask you this. How much shock value would that statement have had if he spoke that way all the time? This was a special circumstance. People were losing their souls. When this was read, I imagine there was a collective gasp as everyone suddenly understood how serious Paul was about the matter. He would never had said such a thing otherwise.
Us? We sound like that constantly, just for laughs, or even about the trivial everyday stuff. I feel like my friend—I need to carry a bar of soap around. But I never imagined I would have to offer it to a brother.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29)