At times when I think of the power of speech that we human beings are blessed with, I simply marvel in awe. Over the centuries, numerous words have been added to dictionaries. And what is interesting is, how some words that spell the same mean different (homographs); some other words that both spell and sound the same (homonyms) while certain words with different spelling and different meanings sound the same (homophones).
(Think of some homographs, homonyms and homophones without searching over the internet or consulting your dictionary. It’ll be interesting! You could mention them in the Comment box.)
Then there are portmanteaus (combining two words to form a new word), like infotainment, shopaholic, etc.
Playing with words is an art. And, in my opinion none can beat the Shakespearean pun! It is par excellence. Rich literature and knowledge of language is present in almost all cultures of the world, with the exception of certain primitive tribal cultures.
With such a rich repository of words available for constructive dispensation of feelings, emotions and information, there has been ample space for obnoxious words to creep into the vocabulary. So much so, that many an awful word is uttered without the sayer knowing its meaning.
There are foul words in every language. And, readers would agree that foul intentions are best expressed in one’s own parent language. There seems to be a fixed set of such words that continue to be used over the ages. As I have mentioned above, new words continue to be added to the dictionary on a regular basis. However from years of observation, I have found out that the list of foul words in a particular language remains more or less fixed and it is relatively lesser in number than the constructive words.
In spite of this being the reality, how frequently do we hear people using profane, coarse, cuss, and blasphemous words? Are these the only words to spew the venom on people around us? If you, dear reader, are one among the many who can’t help, but use foul language, it’s time for a self-check.
Why use foul words?
A person who is hurt will not mind hurting others. Built-in frustration leads to the first few foul words, before it becomes so much a habit that the speaker fails to distinguish the foulness in those words. They become a part of the person’s regular vocabulary.
Remember, what you do is being observed and maybe even imitated by a few people. A five-year old was once brought to me for counselling because he had said outrageously foul stuff to a fellow classmate. While speaking to him, I found out that he had heard his father speak those statements. Now, what is the little one’s fault? He simply imitated what he heard his father – one of the most reliable persons in his life, say!
The Bible says –
“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
If the heart is full of good, noble, pure and praiseworthy thoughts, that is what the mouth will express. If the heart is filled with discontent, vengeance, hurt, malice and bigotry, those are what the mouth would spew forth.
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…”
Is there a turn-around?
Yes, there is.
But, the problem is that when we get so much used to something, we don’t like to leave it, even when we are apprised of the harmful consequences of it. For most people, it’s cool to use foul words. For men, it’s a trait of masculinity to use such words. For some, it’s fun to spew out a volley of abusive words.
However, “…in repentance and rest is your salvation…”
The sooner we deal with the problem of the inner heart and seek God’s control over our words, the better it is for us. A deep peace would set in and joy will fill the heart.
‘Oh Lord! Set a guard over my mouth and keep a watch over the door of my lips’ – may this be your prayer and mine.