I remember reading years ago that when people use bad language on a regular basis, it indicates a level of anger within them. I think we’d all have to admit that over the years the prevalence of foul language has increased exponentially in our society…along with an explosion of anger. Rarely is an eyebrow raised today when confronted with even the F word…the mother of all bad words. Comedians seem to think it’s a comic device. Young people see it as a form of punctuation. Even many of my devout Catholic friends throw it around with abandon.
Without any empirical evidence, (at least none that I’m aware of), I’m convinced that the language we use does indicate a lot about us and our emotional and spiritual state. Sure, even the best people may allow a four-letter word to slip out once in a while when they stub the proverbial toe. But happy people, people truly at peace within, don’t tend to swear on a regular basis.
Remember when such language was referred to as offensive ? I haven’t heard it referenced as such in a while, but I for one do find it offensive. Even around young children or the elderly, the average person is completely oblivious to the fact that their parlance may be shocking and off putting. In such cases, it communicates disrespect for the innocence of the child and the dignity of the elderly. I think one of the reasons it makes some people uncomfortable, is that there is a sense that those using it are expressing their angry inner self. And as they ratchet it up, there’s the uneasy feeling that things may escalate.
Now, I know I may not have much influence with the average person out there, but to my dear Catholic friends, think about what your language is communicating. Someone recently told me of their conversation with God that included the F word. Really. I know God is all loving and understands the state of the mind and heart, but it seems to me that might be counterproductive. Being angry at God is ok, even healthy at times. It means you have a relationship with Him. But maintaining the respect due Him is an important component of that relationship.
If you’re in the habit of using such language, sure, it may be just a bad habit. It happens easily in our profanity saturated culture. But you might want to consider if there’s some anger or some unresolved issues that might be underlying it. If you’re not sure, ask those close to you what they think. You may be surprised at how those around you see it, especially your children.
“I have set before you life or death, blessing and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live…” (Deut. 30:19)
Consider also that these words have always been known as “curse” words. Think about that. Which spiritual forces are they attracting and which might they be repelling?
As Lent gets under way, it’s a good time to make what and how you communicate a priority. Choose life and speak blessings. If it’s too hard a habit to break, it may be a good idea to talk to a Catholic therapist to see what may be at the root so that you can break free and live at peace within. Blessings await when you do.
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