Words

I have been blogging so long that I can’t remember if I have talked about this already or not. Maybe I am just getting older.

The thought of definitions keep coming to my mind. Every time I hear a word used in a new context, it makes me think, “Who created this new definition and who joined in on the movement?”

Our language is evolving, especially with each younger generation. They are constantly inventing new words and changing the definition of older words. Example: gay meant: ‘happy’ 45 years ago, now its predominant definition is ‘homosexual’. (please this blog is not about gay or being gay). Example #2: ‘Tight’ means squeezed together in a small space. To others, it also means cool, something of value.

In our minds, we have definitions filed for each word we comprehend. When someone else uses that word in a new context we are confused. Unless, the sentence has great context clues, then we can’t figure out what they are saying. The scenario gets deeper when we talk about funny and profane words.

At what point did a word become profane? At what part did another become funny? Who defines profane words? While growing up, I said “stupid”, now it seems worse. More importantly who de-profanes words? It seems the trend is that words become less profane the older they get. Growing up, I couldn’t say “butt”. Now, it doesn’t seem too bad. There are many other examples here that I could use but I am not sure what your position is on them.

Here are questions for you…

  • If you say a word that is not offensive to you, but is to someone you are with, are you responsible for its fallout?
  • What if someone is blasting words that are offensive to you, and they have no clue?
  • Is it ok for a word to lose its “profaness”?
  • At what point do you elevate a word to “we don’t say that word around here”

=pastor

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About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at www.psmchurch.com

Posted on December 14, 2007, in Daily Word, General, Random Mumbling. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Well, maybe “stupid” seems worse because you have kids. My sister says there are some words that seem fine until you hear your 3yr old saying them. We were never allowed to “fart” and they didn’t like “freak” much either…

    If you say a word that is not offensive to you, but is to someone you are with, are you responsible for its fallout?
    The Bible says if you know if someone is offended with you should make it right (we always read that backward and think if we are offended with someone we should confront them-see Matthew 5:32-24)

    What if someone is blasting words that are offensive to you, and they have no clue?
    Do they not understand the words??

    Is it ok for a word to lose its “profaness”?
    Well, I think we justify and rationalize and compare…some words do not seem so bad compared to other words.

    At what point do you elevate a word to “we don’t say that word around here” ?
    Well maybe we just need to at least try to be as classy as possibly. Think about it, most classy, sucessful people do not speak crassly.

    I have a question of my own…
    What about how we speak, not just what words we are using? (I am thinking along the lines of not using proper English in order to “fit in” or be “cool”).

  2. The Bible says in Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Then in Phil. 4:8 it says “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”

    If we do this, the words we use will very seldom give offense to anybody no matter how the meaning has changed over the years.

  3. OK, I promised to not preach on Pastor’s blog so here is another thought. When I was young, racial terms were common but sexual references were taboo. Women were “in a family way” not pregnant, and wetbacks were the guys from Mexico that worked on the farms and ranches. My philosophy is this: Stay aware of the vocabulary of the people around me, refrain from using trendy dialog, and try to keep my communication relevant to the audience. Casey’s last question is right on the money. Shakespeare, in Hamlet, gave us some good advice: “to thin own self be true”.

  4. I agree with Rob. On CBgrace’s point, “most classy, successful people do not speak crassly”. Personally, I want to fit into this classification. MY definition of “classy and successful” is not defined by the amount of money or “things” you have, but by your actions.
    I feel in your home you can tell anyone what words they can use or not use. I will be doing that with my grandchildren, if the need arises. 🙂 We have not had a problem with visiting adults. I guess most know what we believe. In past years, we have had friends change their vocabulary around us, not by us telling them anything, BUT by them realizing that we did not use the same words they were using.

  5. oooo .. great topic. and interesting points made. I generally agree with Rob. Thanks for the scripture (I learn so much just from this blog.)
    I think that language has changed because of the way we communicate as well. Now so much is online … texting … IM … blog … even video conferencing, etc. This reflects in our other forms of communication. You can “type” and “say” things to people that you might not say in person and it seems to be more acceptable or not as offensive.

    If you say a word that is not offensive to you, but is to someone you are with, are you responsible for its fallout? YES … YOU SHOULD BE THINKING OF OTHERS FIRST. IT’S ONLY THEIR PERCEPTION THAT REALLY COUNTS.
    What if someone is blasting words that are offensive to you, and they have no clue? YOUR ACTIONS SHOULD CLUE THEM IN. LIKE YOUR SILENCE OR WALKING AWAY … EVEN CORRECTING THEM … I THINK WE TALKED ABOUT THIS IN A BLOG ABOUT DISABLED PEOPLE.
    Is it ok for a word to lose its “profaness”? TIMES CHANGE … BUT IF IT IS STILL PROFANE TO YOU, REFER TO PREVIOUS QUESTION
    At what point do you elevate a word to “we don’t say that word around here”
    WHEN YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE AND THEY DIDNT GET THE HINT !! LOL!

  6. 1.If you say a word that is not offensive to you, but is to someone you are with, are you responsible for its fallout?

    Yes/and no YES! because if you know that what you are saying is offensive you are responsible. NO! because some people wear their feelings on their shoulder and it may not be anything you said it could be just a bad day or month.
    And then yes again because once you recognized you offended that person I feel it’s your responsibility to say your sorry.
    I have a Question??????

    What if God has told you to say something to that person and they don’t receive what God is telling you to say even if it’s right . Are you responsible then?

    At what point do you elevate a word to “we don’t say that word around here”

    Just Like CBGRACE said when you hear your child saying stupid it just sounds wrong coming out of their mouth.
    Based on your surroundings and the way people perceive things I don’t want my kids to offend anyone, with their words or actions.
    But these days if you believe in Jesus the way we do you offend people.

    I had a resident who was 100 yrs old very strong wise man new God and everything.
    One day we ask him how did black people came to be. He said that when Noah son saw him naked and didn’t cover him. His curse was having a burnt face. And that how black people are here now. I’snt that funny!!

  7. Coming from a strictly blue collar perspecitve, I do believe words are used as a spice for conversation. They give color unto a dry mundane world. However these simple words, as Mr. Rob hit on, give life unto a entirely other realm. They are the stepping stones for things to come. We as a society should take heed to whom we are preparing a way, in doing so, you will find others around you will do so as well.
    As far as to what point profane should be no more, irreverence is intolerable, at no point should it be compromised. For God, nor man.

  8. Okay Im guilty of my mouth somtimes working faster than my brain!! but you can usally tell if something you said offened someone. And I yes I do belive if you offend someone its your reponsability to make it right

  9. Aman, my lil sis Angela !!! Preach it girl

  10. Lora Williams asked: What if God has told you to say something to that person and they don’t receive what God is telling you to say even if it’s right . Are you responsible then?

    I don’t think so. The thought that came to my mind immediately after reading this question was when Jesus was sending his disciples out to preach the kingdom. He said that if they weren’t received in a particular town, they should shake the dust off their feet and move on to the next town.

    I think that would probably be a principle that Jesus would also apply to speaking to someone who doesn’t want to receive what you have to say.

  11. I’ve heard “old-timers” talking about the days when you NEVER said a woman was pregnant. You had to say she was…with child, had a bun in the oven, or mother-to-be. I was preaching a message once that someone got on my case because I said, “loin-cloth”…don’t ask! There was a time you couldn’t say “hooker”. I still don’t like the word, but I’ve heard preachers use it. Remember the days you couldn’t use any words relating to “sex”, or any other terms that were deemed “explicit?” Now the world is so filled with perversion, you have to come out against it. I even heard of one preacher at a very prominent Pentecostal church getting up and spouting off every curse word he could muster (how he knew them still puzzles his saints…like preachers live in a vacuum). The people were stunned to say the least. It was a bold move, I’ll likely never try, to awaken people to the idea that some of them think nothing of saying those words at work or school, but in church they portray themselves entirely different.

  12. Wow, one of you should come to my school and hear the “Language” that is used and believe me it is neither kid friendly nor people friendly. And personnel that have been around for many years use it so loosely but I tell them I do not like the language therefore they whisper and laugh among themselves when I am around. In fact, I usually sit alone in the cafeteria because of the language usage (it is mandatory to sit in cafeteria during lunch). When it is a staff meeting (and the principal laughs along with the language) or grade level meeting, they ask for forgiveness then they seem to get upset when I tell them if they ask for forgiveness beforehand then they are in control of the chosen words.
    In my family when Michael and I visit there is a lot of stuttering because they use a certain word grammatically loosely.
    I believe it is my responsiblity to correct any word/s or statements that make me uncomfortable.

  13. Hi all, just reading up on weekend responses.

    I was just thinking…about what I said about how we don’t want to hear our kids saying some words. I wonder, does God cringe sometimes and think, “That doesn’t sound right coming out of my child’s mouth”.

    We had a situation this weekend that someone was offended with us…it wasnt’ necessarily something we said, it was a choice we made. I was thinking about how we could have avoided offending them. I’m not sure we could have. These folks are Christian but their response was to completely cut off friendships. We were told they never want to see us again. We are broken hearted about it. Dennis went to Bible college with this friend. What can we do? We did not expect a happy response but we did expect a Christ-like response. Jesus never cut off relationship with people…even Judas and He knew Judas was going to betray Him.

  14. Hey cb, sorry to hear about the fall-out. Paul does exhort us in Romans 12:18 – If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. I would emphasize here…”if it be possible.” There may be times it’s just not possible in other words. It’s sad that misunderstandings like this happen, but use it as a lesson to perhaps prevent it from happening again. In the off-chance you see them again, let the Holy Ghost shine through you. They soon may see the error of their ways and see how petty their reaction actually was. The last thing I’ll say is, their experience in Christ may not be as deep as yours either, in which case, if you’ve made every attempt to reconcile (and I’m sure you have or will), then prayer is the most important thing you can do for them right now. Dr. Phil signing off!

  15. Way to go, Vera. I once saw a river in the mountains that had granite boulders standing out in the middle of the rushing current. The water was just roaring around the stones but they stood firm in their foundation and had for eons on end. Now when I am pressured by society to conform, I remember the boulders and do my best to emulate them. If our existence is focused on God’s Kingdom and we live according to Biblical principals, the mass of humanity will roar around us as they rush out to sea but we will be unshakeable. And just think, we become stepping stones for others who desire to cross the river of life without being swept away. They may whisper and laugh but there are some who will admire your courage and desire to know more.

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