Recently I had a conversation with a friend who’s a regular reader of ThePreachersWord.
He expressed concern to me about what fellow Christians were posting on social media. And not just what they were posting themselves, but reposting from others.
He noticed some were sharing posts that contained vulgar language, inappropriate pictures, unkind epitaphs, and uncharitable insinuations.
It makes you wonder if they’ve really read the posts they’re reposting. Or if they feel like since they didn’t originally say it, show it or post it, then it’s somehow acceptable.
We obviously live in a culture where public discourse has become increasingly crude, coarse, and crass. Words that were once bleeped on TV are now allowed. And while some words and expressions are still bleeped, sometimes censors allow enough of the word to be heard so you know what is being said.
Last month a reporter for NBC Sports was interviewing NASCAR race driver, Brandon Brown who had just won his first Xfinity Series at Talladega. The crowd behind him was chatting a vulgar expression demeaning President Biden, which was picked up on the live broadcast. For some reason, the reporter decided to tell Brandon they were cheering him on.
That phrase (which you’ve probably heard, but we won’t repeat) would be innocent enough, except it has become code for a profane way to insult, degrade and disparage the President of the United States. Incredibly, that expression is now being printed and sold on masks, T-shirts, bumper stickers, flags, hats, and cups.
Recently South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan wore a mask with that phrase on the floor of the House of Representatives. He justified the contempt for the President by identifying various reasons why Americans are furious at Joe Biden’s Presidency.
And, yes, I saw the expression used the other day by a Christian on facebook.
In case someone thinks the fake cheer is permissible because we’re not saying the actual vulgar word, remember the expression has become a euphemism. Defined by Webster, a euphemism, is “a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.” It’s a device to soften in a socially acceptable way a curse word, vulgar term, or profane phrase.
The Bible has a good deal to say about our speech, both indecent and edifying.
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4).
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 5:29).
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth (Col. 3:8).
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col. 4:6)
Furthermore, Jesus reminds us about the seriousness of the words we use and both their impact and consequences.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:35-37).
Not all words have to be verbally spoken. They may be written and posted on social media. They may be our own words, or we may give endorsement to the words of others by repeating them or reposting them. Our thoughts, feelings, and unspoken words may also be portrayed by pictures, cartoons, and memes, that we think are clever but are beneath the character of a Christian.
Regarding the insulting chant about the President, instead of posting disrespectful euphemisms with a vulgar meaning, we ought to be praying, as per the apostle Paul’s instructions in 1Timothy 2:1-4.
Finally, whether our words are spoken, written, posted, or reposted, remember this important truth. “Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman