"What’s the Big ... Deal about Profanity?"

Recently, when I asked a friend for recommendations of a good movie to rent, he responded enthusiastically, “Have you seen The Hangover? It may be the funniest movie I’ve ever seen!” … Since I wasn’t sure what The Hangover was rated, my last check point involved doing a little research to see if this was a movie for the whole family or one just for me and my wife to watch together. What I discovered floored me.

Call me cynical, but IMO the movie title was an important clue. It just doesn’t bode well, ya’ know? Kinda’ like Sorority House Massacre 2: Nightie Nightmare- exactly how long would you have to think about whether or not to watch that one?

We must remember the admonitions of Scripture to “bring every thought into captivity to Christ” and “glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s.” Also, the Philippians 4:8 principle of meditating upon wholesome things certainly kicks in here. Those things which enter our minds will have an ultimate effect upon our intimacy with our Lord, and our impact upon our world.

After the Lord drew me to Himself in my early 20’s, He gave me a new and fresh vocabulary. As I have meditated upon words and the implications of words, a couple of basic principles seem to rise to the surface :

1. The devil “perverts” the things of God. By “perverts,” I mean that he twists our understanding and appreciation of God and His work. As redeemed children of God, our words, which reflect our thoughts, should shine forth as evidences of the transforming work of the Spirit. It seems that the devil has twisted, distorted our understanding in at least three basic areas :

Deity. Much of profanity is a misuse of the name of God and His Son. God is eternal, almighty, holy, just, pure, and loving. Our words should show an appreciation and adoration of Him, not a demeaning of Him.

Intimacy. God made us male and female, and Hebrews 13 indicates that intimacy within marriage is holy and good, but that God will judge all other forms of sexual expression. As sex has become a recreational activity we have seen it demeaned in the media. Once again, this is a distortion of God’s original design.

Bodily Function. Just consider the greatness of God’s creative work : We eat meat, veggies, fruits, and many oither tasty things. From these, He causes our bodies to make bones, brain cells, red blood cells, energy, etc. When the process is all done, we end up with a biodegradable by product. Once again, profanity treats this process with contempt.

God challenges us to let “no corrupt communication escape from your mouth,” and, during His earthly ministry, Jesus said it was not the foods we eat that cause defilement, but the words we speak, because they show what is in our hearts.

Let us guard our hearts, for out of them are the issues of life.

Yes, words do matter. Both the words I speak, and the words I hear.

Dick Dayton

Bro. Dayton, I’ve always thought is obvious that religious profanities were an expression of disdain and mockery of God, but I’ve never thought of anatomical and scatalogical terms as being expressions of contempt for God’s design of the human body. It makes perfect sense.

Folks that dismiss the profane, obscene, and related euphemisms are also dismissing Luke 6:45. Habits are hard to break, I’ll grant that, and I’ve had my own change of heart about speech and conduct that has taken some time to make from my insides to my outsides. But we need to acknowledge the power of words, written and spoken.


The greatest problem is not the words we speak, but the motivation of heart that prompts us to speak those words. Before my salvation, I and a college friend could make inappropriate comments about nuclear physics. A twisted mind shows that depravity has affected every part of our being.

What we need are not new words, as you pointed out, but transformed hearts and minds.

I am distressed when I see so many beleivers who try to see how closely they can walk with our culture, rather than how closely they can walk with God. Daniel and his friends, during their time at the University of Bablylon, were unquestionably exposed to great pressures. They were able, by God’s grace, both to excell academically and maintain a clean walk with the Lord.

Dick Dayton

Brother Dayton is right on, and I think Paul would agree with him. It has always struck me that in speaking against “filthiness, silly talk, and coarse jesting, which are not fitting” (Eph 5:4), Paul does not put forth decency or purity in contrast to these things, but rather gratitude.

Indecent and crude speech reveals a heart that is ungrateful for God’s good gifts.