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Fulton County Gospel News

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Excuse My Language (Oh Wait, You Already Did)

By Lee Moses

I have recently seen a couple of articles that I find rather disturbing. One is an AFP release entitled, “Swearing at Work Boosts Team Spirit, Morale”; and the other is an article from Babytalk magazine called “Why Moms Lie.”

According to the first article, “Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships.” While this statement may be true, it does not reveal all the facts. Other questions one might ask include: (1) Does regular swearing/cursing at work always help boost team spirit among staff? (2) Are there times when swearing/cursing at work seriously damages team spirit among staff? (3) Is there a sensible way to permit only the swearing/cursing at work that will boost team spirit while wholly eliminating the swearing/cursing that will damage team spirit among staff?

While I have not conducted a survey on the matter, I believe the answers to these questions are obvious. Yes, those who feel at home in a barroom will be made to feel right at home at work when the barroom atmosphere is replicated at work. But cursing will hurt the morale of those uncomfortable in such an atmosphere, and it will even hurt those who claim not to be bothered by such language. The Holy Spirit admonishes us never to speak in any foul manner: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). There is speech which serves the purpose of edifying, or building up, hearers; and which serves the purpose of ministering grace, or doing something favorable, for hearers. However, corrupt communication does not build up hearers; it tears them down. It does not do anything favorable for hearers; it oftentimes causes them to become like those they are around.

The second article addresses the lies that new mothers commonly tell. These might be lies told to strangers, such as saying, “He sleeps great!” when asked whether he is sleeping through the night. This is apparently acceptable, “Because you may never see them again. . . . Most of the fibs we tell strangers are harmless.” Mothers may also lie to friends, but it is reassuring to learn, “‘Lying does bring some social rewards,’ says Robert Feldman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. ‘If you [dishonestly, LM] compliment a friend, she’s likely to reciprocate. Everybody ends up feeling better.’” Additionally, “Using your child as an excuse with friends—to get out of social functions and to get off the phone—is a time-honored tradition among new moms. So don’t feel bad: Your friends with kids are using the same lines on you!” The article goes on to justify lying to parents, husbands, and doctors. But regardless of how pretty one wants to paint lying, it is deception, it is misleading, and it hurts others: “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28).

Even if it could be demonstrated that there are instances in which foul language or lying might serve a good purpose, such will never please God. God, who gave us the organs of speech, desires that only blessing proceed out of our mouths—not cursing (James 3:10). Lying is one of seven things the Lord hates (Prov. 6:16-19). Solomon admonishes, “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight” (Proverbs 12:22).  There is no excuse for foul language or for lying.

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