Day 26 – RESPECT (Feb. 24)
Gandhi taught, “Language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.” Today, respect yourself and others be choosing not to use any profanity or “put downs.”
I have a potty mouth. This is true. I once had a kid fresh out of the Navy warn me to watch my mouth. NO profanity? Well, I’ll try.
I don’t, ever, curse at or about another human being. Even when I feel they deserve it. None of God’s creatures was created to be cursed at. Or screamed at (unless they don’t hear the silent electric car about to run them over, then a good scream might save a life). It is abusive and aggressive and dehumanizing to curse or use profanity or put downs. The damage done to a heart by verbal abuse can be far worse than the damage done to a body by physical abuse and violence.
There is nothing wrong with anger. It is a normal, human emotion. I’m still learning how to express it well and constructively. We girls often get it pounded into us that we should never be angry or show anger. I still know supposedly progressive, intelligent people who hold a double-standard on this. I’ve seen it at play in my own relationships and friendships. I write a lot of anger because of this. Writing it out is far preferable to repressing it or expressing it in a way that hurts people. I’ve done both.
Jesus, also, had some rather strong and specific words about swearing at people or insulting them:
Matthew 5:21-26English Standard Version (ESV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.[d]
- Matthew 5:22Some manuscripts insert without cause
- Matthew 5:22Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
- Matthew 5:22Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
- Matthew 5:26Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)
Using profanity and put-downs, curses or insults, is hurtful. I am an expert at nothing, but I’d say the user of such abuse suffers as much as the receiver of it. It serves only to degrade both parties, spreading violence and hate and discord. That isn’t the world I want to build or be a part of.