When thinking through certain words that I find unacceptable, the original 1828 edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language is a good place to start. I looked up some nasty culprit words and they aren't there. Looking up bad words in the dictionary, childish, right? But if Noah Webster didn't think they were nice to say, they shouldn't be said. That can't be the source because any word can be used as an insult with the right tone behind it. (And our society loves to invent and change the original meanings of words.)
I've often thought of the sweetest little old lady that I know. Would she say the word? That may not be the best guide either, I've heard some filthy talk come from the elderly. But the point is, would I want someone that I respect and admire to hear me say what I'm saying?
Thinking about words we use:
- Speech matters. What you say reveals your heart, mine too.
- Never allow words that could be used to condemn, to hurt, or cause harm.
- Bathroom words belong in the bathroom.
- Every family has words that are not allowed. Respect that. (Some of ours are - shut up, hate, stupid, idiot.)
Practicing Affirmation is a book I started a long time ago but recently picked it up again to finish. The idea is to praise people for God given talents, behaviors, and such, making sure you give credit to whom credit is due - God. This book discusses issues like self esteem, flattery, pride and positive thinking cultures while staying true to God's word. If we use words to build others up instead of tear them down, wouldn't everything change? That's a common message, but it's important, especially when it refers to praising God for the good we see in others. God is praised and others are encouraged.
These girls have the gift of "sister speech." This is Sarah and Hannah when we were at the beach this past Summer. It's fun to see them play, since they are so grown up and work and do school all the time.