Many people think I’m weird about words. “It’s just a word,” a counselor friend declares – attempting to convince me that it’s fine for children to curse. I don’t agree. Even while teaching adults, I often stopped students in hallways and common areas who were dropping f-bombs to let them know that educated people should have attained the use of a broader vocabulary than f-ing this and f-ing that. It simply makes people sound ignorant, in my opinion.
When it comes to my children, I’m even more vigilant about what they can hear, because what goes in may eventually come out. With my oldest, I managed to prevent him from even hearing the f-word until he was ten. That wasn’t easy to do. It meant heavily restricting his movie-watching, friends, and most-importantly: where he went to school (private Christian school). Then one day, it happened. I left him with a trusted sitter, someone I’d known forever and trusted. She, apparently, thought nothing of saying it in front of my kid. And he came home and proudly repeated it. Theory confirmed (what goes in comes out).
But the real f-word is much more dangerous, in my opinion. The word is “fool.” I remember the first time I heard someone use the word – in seventh grade as we were heading for our after school buses, a worldly kid shouted at another boy, “You’re a fool!” A felt icy cold air around me. I felt certain that boy had just signed himself up for hell.
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
- Matthew 5:22
- Matthew 5:22
When I was around fifth or sixth grade, some of my peers started using the word “idiot.” When my folks heard us kids using the word, they put a stop to it, pointing out that idiot is synonymous to fool. I later came to realize that most insults are also synonyms of fool. So are there any safe insults to hurl at people? Is this the point of Matthew 5:22? Don’t insult people? Don’t call people names?
Although, I’ve overcome my past enough to realize much of what was taught and widely accepted was not biblically accurate, I’m still terrified of words like fool.
And worse than fool, is the taking of God’s name in vain – which, to my mind, I confuse with blasphemy. Maybe I’m incorrect about that, but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry. Truthfully I’d prefer to hear the f-word a million times than to hear someone take God’s name in vain.
What do you think about the power of words? Harmless or very potent?