I was watching a music awards show recently when one of the winners (a female in this case) used a curse word in her acceptance speech. In a rather flippant way, she apologized for using that kind of language on television. She reminded me of when a man would unload a curse word in my presence and quickly say, “Excuse me, Reverend.” First, I have never liked the title “reverend,” and second, I am not the one to whom the dude needed to apologize.

Our public language has grown more and more coarse throughout my lifetime. I am not naïve— cursing and bad language have long been with us. Yet, it has not always been used on television, nor in polite company. Only the most uncouth men would use curse words in front of a lady. Believers saw the use of curse words as sinful.

Today, television is filled with expletives. Even when they bleep out curse words, it is clear what was said. Men have no trouble cursing in front of women because too many women use this foul filth as a part of their vocabulary. Walking through a mall, standing in a grocery store line, sitting in a restaurant or in the stands at a football game, you are just as likely to hear a string of vile language as if you were in a pool hall. It makes no difference who is in ear shot, whether young children, ladies or just a man who does not appreciate cursing—people see it as their right to fill the air with the stink of foul filth.

Far too many young people seem to have adopted four-letter words as part of their vocabulary. Slang no longer satisfies. The things discussed too often are vulgar, and their language is in the gutter.

I personally think cursing comes from minds that lack a grasp of the English language—as in vocabulary challenged. This type of talk flows from the sewer lagoon of the mind.

Fortunately, I remember the first time my mother heard me use a curse word, tame by modern standards, but a curse word nevertheless. Can you say “Palmolive,” as in a bar of soap in the mouth? OK, so mom didn’t know someone could have called DHS for such a move. Actually, I am thankful for the soap. It wasn’t a total cure, but I assure you bad words did not fly in the future without the taste of soap clinging to my mind.

I doubt my rantings will change the culture or stop the use of vulgarity on television or in the grocery line. As our culture has become less Christian, it has also become less polite. Sexual content and vulgarity are common. However, it is a worthy goal to call out believers to rise above the foul filth and reflect the Christ, to whom they belong, in their language as well as their actions.

Paul gives us good instruction in Eph. 4:29, “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.” Stinkin’ thinkin’ and foul filth don’t belong in or out of the mouth of a follower of Christ. Whether on an oil rig, football field or in a beauty salon, the language of a believer should be seasoned with grace, not laced with filth.