Monday, July 8, 2013

What Do Words Matter?

This weekend I have twice had occasion to think over the importance of words.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. - Matthew 15:18

The first instance came when I was chastising a young friend of mine for a profanity-laden post.  Not surprisingly, a Facebook friend of his jumped to his defense with the statement that "words don't matter".  I pointed out to her that words do matter, and the words you choose are a reflection of who you are and how you think.  I told her that when anyone chooses to use profanity, they are sending a subtle signal to others about their lack of vocabulary and possible lack of imagination. After all, the English language contains sufficient words in it that it should never be necessary to convey intense emotion with it.  That I occasionally forget myself and use these words, or that anyone else may, is not a reflection of the value of those words. It is a reflection of the fact that I defiantly allowed myself to pick up this habit of vulgarity when I was a teen in order to "fit in" and "act like a grown up".  It doesn't accomplish either aim, and it's a habit that I have struggled to break because I recognize the fact that real grown-ups don't need to use cursing to gather the attention of others.  They compel attention by their positive behavior.

The young lady said that vulgarity was easier and allowed you to speak more truthfully.  I pointed out to her that profanity was anything but truthful.  After all, when using the "f" bomb (which my young friend had done in his post), you are making a statement about the act of sexual union.  It makes no sense in most cases to do so, since you aren't usually actually speaking on any level about matters involving sexual union.  Even when you are, you are taking something that is meant to be a beautiful blessing from God and turning it into a casual curse. Neither are becoming of Christian mouths.

The second instance came when I was debating with several pro-abortion women whose posts dripped with anger, sarcasm, and bitterness not only toward God but toward anyone who would dare tell them they were in the wrong.  As the debates continued, the truth surfaced: all three of these women were post-abortive.  Rather than tap-dance around the subject or allow them to continue dodging the truth of the matter, I pointed out that each of them was guilty of murder. They had not only shed innocent blood, but the innocent blood of their children.  I encouraged them to seek forgiveness and healing.

Some may think it was a mistake to put it so bluntly, but I think that until you confront the real evil you have done by your behavior head-on, you aren't ready to seek forgiveness for it.  Using language that was more gentle or that allowed them to continue hiding the truth from themselves would not have, in my opinion, served them well.  They are already surrounded by a society that allows them to feel comfortable (at least on the surface) with their decision.  My words were intended to cut through the politically correct fuzzy language about abortion to shine a light on exactly what they had done.  

Some may disagree that I was too harsh, and I am certainly open to correction if I need it, but I think that using the harsh language of spelling out for them exactly what they did, and the real evil of it, is necessary to help them reach a place of repentance.  That place of repentance is the only place from which they can find healing, and after having spent three hours speaking to these three women, it's clear to me that they are in desperate need of both healing and redemption.  The bitterness and anger that they hold within them is eating them slowly from the inside out, poisoning their relationships with others and especially with those they love the most.  

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