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Minister’s Message: Finding freedom to restrain ourselves

We are free to speak at a higher level of intelligence

  • By Rev. Stephen Brown
  • Friday, February 16, 2024 2:30am
  • LifeCommunity

Call me prude. Call me dinosaur, an anachronism, or out of step. Why, you may ask? I refuse to accept or be tolerant of the level of profanity that has become a deluge of pollution in our civil discourse. It is my observation that our collective communications as a people grow more coarse and distasteful with each passing year. Am I wrong?

Most television programming is so punctuated with the now ubiquitous “bleep” the FCC amazingly still requires that we can hardly make intelligible sense of the story line. If you want to pay for the privilege, you can go to the movies where that final courtesy is starkly absent and allow the verbal equivalent of raw sewage to fill your mind. What passes as music in popular culture drones on and on with lyrics spewing the most debased dregs of human behavior. Is it no wonder that we have an epidemic of “potty mouth?”

Profanity has always been with us. The phrase, “curse like a drunken sailor” is an old analogy. What seems to be different in the present is that once profanity was the expression of pain, as when you hit your thumb with a hammer or when you were irresponsible enough to drink to inebriation and join those drunken sailors in their debased speech. Now, profanity is part of our conversations as a normal component of civil discourse. Even young children who mimic their elders are part of the plague.

I know it is quite unpopular to suggest self-restraint in our “free” culture. Of course we are free to speak as if our mouth was full of gutter filth. Let me suggest we are also free not to. We are free to speak at a higher level of intelligence, choosing words to illustrate well our ideas and feelings in an uplifting and poignant way. Why do we feel the need to scrape the bottom of the vocabulary barrel to make a point? We should consider that we are free to restrain our darker human impulses in order to not defile the public arena. Self-restraint is also a freedom, one I think that needs to be defended and practiced.

Scripture shares its wisdom on guiding the selection of the words we choose to speak:

Col. 4:6 (NKJV) Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Let your speech always be with grace… I like the sound of that. Perhaps we have explored the depths of sullied speech sufficiently? Perhaps it is time we as individuals considered including the civil part of civil discourse back into our conversations. Maybe a thought should be given to restraining ourselves for the good of all and enjoying that freedom once again.

Rev. Stephen Brown is the lead Pastor of Kenai New Life Assembly of God, 209 Princess Street, Kenai. Contact 907-283-7752 www.kenainewlife.org. Pastor Brown has led Kenai New Life Assembly of God for 35 years.

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