Acceptable words

A YOUNG woman was telling me about her new job. She was rather distressed. She liked the work and said her supervisor was capable and likable. Yet the supervisor could hardly utter a sentence without using obscenities. It puzzled my friend, who particularly disliked foul language. She said, ``You're standing there listening, and you're forced to hear all this stuff you don't want to hear. And why should an otherwise pleasant woman, who is the mother of a small child, want to talk that way?'' People hear this language all around them. They want to be accepted, one of the crowd, and consequently they may find themselves speaking in a way they would never speak if left to their own natural inclinations. After a time it becomes an unthinking habit -- and the habit spreads to others.

It takes strength to hold to one's own standards in the midst of very different ones. However, this can be done. I once knew a man who went to sea for eight years and daily heard the worst language imaginable, yet he himself never used a swearword. He just didn't yield to the suggestion that he had to use such speech in order to be effective.

The Bible has numerous admonitions concerning speech. In James we read, ``If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.''1 And the Psalmist prayed, ``Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.''2

Most will concede that God is Spirit, as the Bible teaches, and that He is good. Could God, then, originate unclean thoughts -- the precursor of unclean speech? No; God's nature is infinitely pure, and man, created in His likeness, expresses that purity. The use of impure language not only reflects a misconception of our true selfhood but tends to separate us from feeling and experiencing God's pure goodness. It may be argued that foul language is either socially acceptable, harmless, or in some way a necessity in today's world. But unthinking entrapment in contemptuous language is really an element of animality, which can't promote our own well-being or anyone elses.

Such language, if not of God, must be of the devil, whom Jesus called ``a liar.''3 We do not have to accept this lying, carnal mentality as true of ourselves or others. God's man -- the real, eternal, spiritual man -- is pure. When we recognize this Godlike man as our own real being, we're better able to let go of whatever is unlike our true selves and relinquish whatever would bog us down in materialism. We may sometimes face a struggle, but the effort to purify our thoughts and lives is well worth it.

Evil is no part of the real man. It is an impostor that would pass itself off as a man. Yet evil has only the power we give it through fear or fascination.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``One's aim, a point beyond faith, should be to find the footsteps of Truth, the way to health and holiness. We should strive to reach the Horeb height where God is revealed; and the corner-stone of all spiritual building is purity.''4 Our mental landscape should not be littered with filthy debris. For our own spiritual progress as well as for the benefit of humanity, we might well pray with the Psalmist that ``the words of [our] mouth'' be acceptable in God's sight.

1James l:26. 2Psalms 19:14. 3John 8:44. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 241.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

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