Friday, April 25, 2014

What comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man

I just happened to look at Twitter last night and I saw something I couldn't help but comment on. A co-worker was at a tech conference and the f-bomb was being used as part of a presentation.

For me, this goes beyond worldview or even being a Christian. To me, that is simply crass, rude and unprofessional. I'm not so naive to think that people don't use such language at tech conferences, as I have been to my fair share. In fact, there has been an outbreak of such stuff recently. I can say I have never seen the f-bomb prominently used as part of a presentation before.

It's not that I've never heard that word before -- it's not that I've never used that word before. Something struck me last night, and it just didn't sit right. It is so common in the tech world for these "brogrammers" to use that word; it's as if they think it is cute, or makes them look cool or trendy. To me, it just makes them look rude, crude, crass and idiotic.

While I'm on the subject, I wanted to mention a few points for those of us who are Christians. It's so important for us to refrain from such language. There are a couple of categories of cussing, as I see it.

The first is the misuse of terms of great importance, including taking the Lord's name in vain. Four 'words' I put into this category are: 'God', 'Jesus Christ', 'Hell' and 'Damn'. 

The Bible is pretty clear about the fact that we shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain (Exodus 20:7) but often we don't always think about all the ways we can take the Lord's name in vain. The biggie that most people think of is G-- D---- (I can't even type that in good conscience, but you know what I mean). While that is the big one that most people think of when they think of that Commandment, there are many other ways. How many times have we said "Oh my God!" when it wasn't part of a prayer? Many people have hit their thumb with a hammer and said "Jesus Christ!" before. Those are all taking the Lord's name in vain. It's belittling God, or Jesus Christ to use their names in such a way. Just like using the Lord's name vain, using "Hell" or "Damn" as a swear word take very serious things and belittle them into throw away terms we use in anger. It belittles the seriousness of an eternal Hell or the act of damning someone to Hell to use those terms in such a way.

The other category is the category I ran into last night. It's the category of just being rude, crude or crass. Personally, I think even non-Christians, when in a setting such as a professional conference would have enough class and good sense to not use words that fall into this category, but this just isn't the case any longer. For those of us who are Christians, here are a few texts that I think are important to remember. 

The first is in 1 Corinthians 13, vv. 4-5a "Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly (HCSB) or act unbecomingly (NASB) or rude (ESV) -- and I like the KJV here too: behave itself unseemly. 

We should be aware of what we say, and when what we say could be perceived as improper, unbecoming, rude or unseemly. As Christians we are held to a higher standard, and we should always be projecting that higher standard into the world. I made the comment on Twitter last night that I would have left that talk, which was greeted with shock that I would have left the presentation at a Ruby on Rails conference that was being given by the person who invented Ruby on Rails. Well, yes I would. Not because my "virgin ears" couldn't handle the language, it's the fact that I think it was improper, unbecoming, rude and unseemly. And, just as I commented on Twitter last night, I don't care if David Heinemeier Hansson invented Ruby on Rails or sliced bread! He is supposed to be an intelligent person and if he can't communicate with me without using that word, I don't care to listen. 

Another text worth mentioning here is Ephesians 5:4: Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. (HCSB)  I think what Paul is saying here is that first, we know about what is rude, and we shouldn't be using language like that, but also, we should be giving thanks (the ESV says "but instead let there be thanksgiving"), meaning that if our heart is in the right place -- we have a heart full of love that will monitor our language for us -- it will keep us from using such language. I think if you are around someone who is constantly rude, crude, crass or uses foul language it is a good indication that something isn't right with their heart.

And finally, Ephesians 4:29: Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (NASB) We must let our language be good for people. We should lift people up with our words, we should, with every utterance of our lips be spreading the glory of the Kingdom of God, even when we aren't spreading the Gospel, but when we are living our lives, as examples of His children. We should always be building people up; not tearing them down. Every word and action should be filled with His grace.

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