CAN a person overcome the use of profanity through prayer? And if so, is that important? The answer to both questions is yes. Anything that obscures our native, God-given purity, regardless of how trivial or harmless it may seem to casual, worldly thinking, needs to be healed. Our spiritual progress -- and ultimately our well-being itself -- depend on it. If we're to move forward in the truest sense, if we're to follow the example of Christ Jesus and be effective spiritual thinkers and doers, we would do well to heal first the errors over which we have the most direct control. Profanity is one of those errors. No habit is trivial at all if it constantly stains our pure sense of things.
At one time I was quite profane. I cursed casually and constantly, not out of deliberate intent to profane Deity or to call down a curse on enemies but simply out of habit. I was freed of swearing through prayer in Christian Science. It was at a time when I was praying for spiritual inspiration to be increased in my daily life, and I was truly searching my innermost thoughts. The idea of purity kept coming to me. What was it that I needed to eliminate to make my life more acceptable to God? These words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, stood out to me: ``We should strive to reach the Horeb height where God is revealed; and the corner-stone of all spiritual building is purity.''1
One day it dawned on me that I had never really seen habitual profanity for what it was -- a stumbling block, a blatant form of impurity standing squarely in my spiritual path. On the one hand I was listening in prayer for God's pure thoughts, which would reveal more of the divine reality, more of the truth of God and of me as His perfect, spiritual image. On the other hand I was acting in disobedience to these messages. I was working against myself. I resolved to be healed of using profanity.
From that moment on I became a careful watchman in my daily conversation. In short order the dominion came. Profanity was replaced by a heartfelt desire to show new spiritual maturity in the presence of others. I remember being impressed with these words of James: ``Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.''2
This healing led to a number of good things. At the very least it relieved me of a load I had been carrying for far too long, a load that I dropped with no loss or regret. I found it was impossible for me to progress Spiritward without constantly striving ``to reach the Horeb height,'' without attending to the purifying and cleansing of my way of doing, thinking, and saying things. Best of all, what fun it was to rediscover normal, wholesome words to express my thoughts!
Christian Science brings out the reassuring truth that healing is not only possible to every one of us; it is normal and natural. It's natural because we're not actually sinful or sick mortals; that's not the way God created us. The genuine identity of each one is His pure spiritual likeness, and healing brings something of this reality to light. Praying from this standpoint, and striving each day to rise as fast as possible from gross materiality to increasingly pure and holy ways, we find healing. Mrs. Eddy writes encouragingly, ``The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress.''3
In my life I have been able, through purifying my thoughts and words, to gain dominion over such hampering traits as irascibility, impatience, criticalness, bad temper, and habitual exasperation. They all went the way of profanity. As I prayed to be more spiritually-minded, these pieces of excess baggage simply fell by the wayside. Geniality replaced grouchiness. Compassion and understanding replaced scorn. Patience replaced irritation. And gentle words replaced profanity. All of this healing was part of the inevitable, irresistible, liberating process of growth Spiritward.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 241. 2James 3:13. 3Science and Health, p. 324.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. II Timothy 2:16