Recently, I read a Tweet from a woman who, newly post-abortive, was “shouting” her abortion to the world.
Along with this, she vented about the “extremely (f!@#$%) up nature” of the fetal-heartbeat bills being introduced to outlaw abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. If not for living in New York, she noted, she’d have been denied her abortion.
When I shared this on Facebook, one friend pointed out both the callousness and crassness of her words, adding that they revealed “a low moral character.”
Another friend responded, “My daddy always asks, whenever he hears kids cursing, ‘Do you kiss your mama with those lips?’”
A third said that though the foul language doesn’t surpass the immorality of the abortion itself, it still matters.
I agree, and not because I’ve lived a curse-free life. I agree because in moments, I’ve been the girl sounding more like a drunken sailor at sea than a female of integrity. I agree because when I’m at my weakest, I’m still inclined to let something unseemly slip out.
But mostly I agree because the more I form myself in Christ’s image, the more affected I am by the swearing that happens regularly, and at an accelerating rate, all around me.
Case in point, back on Twitter, someone described abortion as “normal.” When I responded, “never,” a crude reply came: “It’s already normal. The population would be 55 billion and we’d be eating our (sh&%) for breakfast by now otherwise.”
Though admittedly newly postpartum, a friend asked me, “Why do they have to be so vulgar in their responses?”
It bothers me, too. When I straight-out asked someone on Twitter why, she said, “Because I’m like that…and I’m not gonna change.”
We’ve become increasingly crass as a society and world – on television, on the Internet, and on the street. It’s as if we’ve given up. Some don’t even hear it anymore.
In my younger years, I caved, too. But the more I form my conscience, the more I work on restraint. I see now the weakness cursing reveals – a lack of self-control, and, yes, an underdeveloped or atrophied morality.
Over time, crude language has become harder for me to bear. It not only offends but saddens, for at its root I see an angry child lashing out, crying for help, searching for healing in their brokenness and not knowing, perhaps, that a merciful God can meet them where they’re at.
As always, Scripture brings wise instruction: “No foul language should come out of your mouths,” Ephesians 4:29 says, “but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”
When met with the harsh language of the world these days, I wince, praying that gentler talk would abound. We need words that heal, not harm. And while it’s challenging to remove profanity from our heart and lips, it’s not impossible. Though an imperfect example, I can offer living proof.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on March 2, 2019.]