By Lim Chong Teck
Yes, please read the article that I am writing because at some point in your life you will face the situation that I am relating either as the receiving party or giving party or you could very well be a spectator of both parties. What do I mean?
When my daughter was 7 years old and just started school in Year One, I was usually the one who took her home after school. One day as I was waiting for her to come out after school, I noticed two seven-year-old boys coming out and shouting at each other. As they got nearer I heard the two of them hurling the F-word at each other. And as soon as they saw one of the child’s mom who was waiting to take them home, one of them said “Aunty, he is speaking dirty words.” The other boy responded and said, “He also said the same things,” to which the other child accused, “But he started it.”
The mother who obviously had heard what I heard, coolly asked her son, “Do you know the meaning of the word that you said?”
The son looked blankly at the mother and shook his head. She then turned and asked his friend “Do you know what it means?”
Similarly his friend said “No” and the mom asked, “How then do you know it’s a dirty word?
Her son replied “We hear these words used when two men were scolding each other.”
“Where did both of you learn these words?”
“It was from a TV show.”
“I don’t let you see such movies on TV, where did you see this show?”
“In tuition class,” came the reply in unison.
Finally she said “Please stop using words that you don’t understand and I will have to speak to the tuition teacher about TV shows that are appropriate for you during your free time.”
It struck me then – how great an influence the TV has on our children. We have to admit that even for the adults, TV programmes and movies are affecting our choice of words and even our morality standards. We try to do all to guard and to guide our children while they are young, yet as Christian parents we can never protect them 24/7 from all this worldly influence. They must decide for themselves as they grow older how they will allow themselves to be influenced and decide what is right and proper or what is to be abstained and rejected.
There is a chance that some may just go with the flow of the world. As for the F-word which is spoken frequently in the world without any repercussion and to some extent even among Christians, I ask the same question that the mom asked the seven year old boys “ Do you understand what it means? Really understand what it means?”
Let me reason and explain. The F-word which is almost always used as a derogatory form is the act of sexual intercourse. It means “mate “or “copulate” in the animal kingdom and solely for the purpose of procreation. In the human world the bible used “Adam KNEW his wife” and in other modern translation “Adam made love to his wife”. The act is sanctified in a marriage relationship (Heb 13:4). The language employed signifies tender loving moments for the married couple as husband and wife of being unified as one (Gen 2:28, 1 Cor 6:16). Apart from fostering the closeness of the relationship, it is also for the purpose of procreation.
Nobody curses another with the words “knew” or “make love to” because the very words mean tender loving moments between married couples. But this F-word is invented to be used in a loose form of the act to curse or degrade someone. It is mostly used by men and to degrade women even though it’s hurled at both men and women. But nowadays women have started to use it as a curse word too. This use is not just verbal as we can see it in Facebook and Whatsapp. Why do people use it as such? Should we as Christians use the word without giving thought to its consequences to ourselves and others?
When I was in school I had a good friend whom I used to hang out with. He normally did not use the four letter word in his conversation. But once I noticed he was freely blurting out this four-letter word with another friend.
After the exchange of words, I looked askance at him and he said, “You must say such things to this guy, then you are “Macho” and can be friends with him. But I notice you never say such words. Why ah..?”
“I don’t see the need to use the word in my conversation,” I said.
“The two Christians I know who don’t use them are you and Siok Chuan,” he said.
As a Christian then I knew the Bible said in Eph 4:29: Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt havelost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matt. 5:13-14).
Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are the influence of the world to bring them to Christ. When we do as the world does we are no longer effective to bring them to Christ and soon they will bring us away from Christ. If we had the habit of saying vulgar words thoughtlessly before we became Christians, we should put them off now that we are new men in Christ.
Col 3:8: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communicationout of your mouth.
This friend and I have remained good friends to this day. And in trying to share Christ with him, I have only managed to persuade him to attend our regular service once back then. I learned from then that sometimes people just get into the habit of saying swear words without much thought. By cursing they think they look stronger and more “Macho” or just to fit in. Perhaps they have had their senses numbed in the process and these words don’t hurt their conscience anymore.
Do we as Christians want to fit in to the world by speaking this way? If we make friends with the world using the world’s way, we are making God our enemy (Jam 4:4). As Christians, have our senses been so numbed that vulgar words proceed out of our mouths, the same mouth that we use to bless God? The Bible tells us it ought not to be so.
Jas 3:9 Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God:
Jas 3:10 out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be
Paul warned us of a predicament when one does not seek God nor fear him. The mouth full of cursing is one of them.
Rom 3:10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God;
Rom 3:12 They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one:
Rom 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips:
Rom 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Rom 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
Rom 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known:
Rom 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Some have said swear words without knowing God. And others have no fear of God before their eyes. As Christians we have known the way of peace through Christ. And we have the knowledge of God. Do we seek what pleases Him and do we fear Him?
When we are on the witness stand before a judge we are reminded we are under oath to tell the truth. Lies can be held as perjury. Corrupt words are disrespectful and can be held as contempt of the court. We can be punished for both.
Do we realize that we conduct our lives before the great Judge and every word we say will be brought before his judgment seat and receive a due reward or punishment?
Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Let’s not use swear words to fit in with the world. Using them does not make us “Macho” or stronger. We are answerable to God for every word we speak. Since we have put on Christ, let us put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph 4:22-29). By putting on Christ we can be the salt and light to bring others to Christ. May we emulate the example of David as described in Psalms.
Psa 39:1 To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
Psa 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
May I conclude with the same question again to my fellow Christians as the mother who asked her child, “Do you understand what the word means?” If you don’t, stop using it. If you do, then all the more you should stop using it.