But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. -Col. 3:8

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. -Eph 5:4

Some cable channels are already starting to run “unedited” (i.e. profanity-laced) concerts and movies late at night. In prime time, the cussing is left in, but the camera focuses on the speaker during the bleep so that we can all try our hand at lip-reading.

Profanity culture has made its way into the church. For some younger Christians, profanity has become a mark of authenticity. You may blow your top, but hey, you’re 100% human. You’re keeping it real.

Talk about glorying in your shame! It’s as if being “authentic” is more important than being obedient. That message doesn’t come from the Bible; it comes from pop culture and our own sinful nature.

I say this as someone who has long struggled with choice words; a few years of working in a factory didn’t help matters. You won’t hear it in normal conversation, but catch me after stubbing my foot, or maybe after struggling with a stripped screw or a faulty piece of equipment for a while… and uh oh. I may be keeping it real, but so what? I’m sinning. I shouldn’t be patted on the back for for such a lack of self-control, but rebuked. Such outbursts of wrath are an expression of a heart problem (Mark 7:20-23) that one should endeavor to crucify (Gal 5:19-24).

One more thing: Polite company has long accepted the vain (i.e. false or needless) use of words like hell and damn. Do these usages not trivialize momentous things related to God’s judgment? Biblically, I think a case can be made that using those words vainly is worse than using the coarse words they don’t (yet) allow on TV. Worst of all is the use of the Lord’s name (common example: “O, my …”). As Psalm 139:20 says, those who take God’s name in vain are His enemies.

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