This is the second part of some thoughts I have on profanity, asking the question, "What makes us cringe?" And, "When would Jesus cringe?" (WWJC) You can view part one here: Profanity, part one
There is also the Biblical principle of whatever we allow to be planted in our lives will produce fruit (look in Galatians 6). Meaning, that the profanity that comes from another isn't just hurting them, it harms us. We should be cringing because by subjecting ourselves to profanity there is a planting taking place in our lives in a spiritual sense. Now follow me here, in Genesis the principal of producing after one's own kind was established. Meaning that an apple tree creates apples and only apples. In the same way, if we continually subject ourselves to profane language from others, what kind of fruit do you think it will produce in us: profane thoughts, profane language, all things profane. Fertile soils nurtures everything that is planted within. We are spiritually fertile; what kinds of seeds are we accepting?
What about laziness and ignorance? Does the Bible treat them as spiritual issues? I think in reading the book of Proverbs, one would be hard pressed to make an argument otherwise. Why is this relevant? Because profanity, in my opinion, is usually a result of one or the other. It is a matter if ignorance when we look to profanity to express feeling and thoughts that are larger or inconsistent with the vocabulary we have developed. We search for words, find none, reach for an expletive and move on to the next word. They are intellectual gap fillers. Reading, learning, conversation, contemplation, etc. all contribute to a growing vocabulary. We should all be committed to expelling ignorance from our lives, especially in the area of expression.
What about laziness? That is when we have a sufficient vocabulary to express whatever we may be feeling or thinking yet out of laziness, a poor intellectual work ethic, we reach for an expletive because it takes less mental effort than searching for the right words. Do you know people who only use profanity when they are tired, angry, frustrated...? When we are emotionally weary, intellectual laziness sets in and the expletives roll. Are we cringing yet, is He, WWJC?
Now, I'm not suggesting that we all deputize ourselves and become the profanity police. Remember, if our response to the people around us is judgmental, self-righteous, and arrogant then we will be causing them to cringe, the great cringe exchange! If it is a stranger, chances are praying for them quietly in the moment is your best response. If my children are being subjected to it then maybe I will kindly ask them to be mindful of the children that are present, and always I use it to talk to my children about how there are words we don't use and why. If we know them, instead of coming down on them, why not say something like this, "Could I share something with you I learned recently about words?" No one likes to be judged, but I have seldom met a person who is not willing to have a gracious, caring conversation.
In closing, remember, you can control most of what comes into your life, and certainly, you have complete control over what you are putting in the lives of others.