The Problem of Profanity

Photo: vladtime.ru Photo: vladtime.ru
    

And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.  (James 3:5-12)

In just about every generation, writers comment on how bad things have become – as if there were a previous age in which things were better. That probably is a human thing, as far back as Seth who really could think things were better in his parent’s day, but even in Paradise there was a serpent and sin.  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, who died in 1783AD, laments the disrespectful language he was hearing in Holy Russia which he claimed had become commonplace. He would not believe how tame the profanity he laments sounds today and in fact for many would not even count as profanity. His words remind us we should be mindful of what we say.

Profanity has become commonplace – a thing that is extremely unbefitting Christians – as to say “By God!,” “God be upon it!,” “As God is my witness!,” “God look after it!,” “For Christ’s sake!,” and many others. And these are said by some people quite often, even in every utterance. Such profanity is nothing but a satanic plot devised to dishonor the name of God and for the destruction of man. You should guard yourself from swearing in these and other ways.

When there should be need for you to affirm the truth, let Christ’s words be for you, Yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh from the evil one(Mt. 5:37). (Journey to Heaven, p. 15)

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  (Matthew 12:34-37)

Fr. Ted's Blog

Fr. Ted Bobosh

6/21/2018

Used with permission.
Comments
Anthony6/21/2018 9:51 am
Greetings! In Starets Efraim's book, the Art of Salvation, he dedicates an entire chapter to blaspheming, such is the magnitude of this sin in "holy, Orthodox Greece". He asked one person why he blasphemed, but the person just couldn't explain it. I think anyone who can't explain why they curse God should be very concerned as it's most likely their tongue, and thus their heart is controlled by the devil. Best for them to head straight to confession if this is the case, remembering that their curses won't hurt God but will simply rebound on them like a boomerang.
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