Sunday

My Unpopular Opinion


It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

He sure screwed that up.
credit

Yeah, that sucks. 

Like the time I watched a beautiful lady—professionally-manicured nails, shining hair, and perfect makeup give an entire speech with cilantro stuck between her front teeth. To everyone within 20/20 range, it didn’t matter that she had perfectly manicured nails, shining hair, and perfect makeup. The cilantro rendered it all pointless—all we could see was the green glob stuck between her teeth. 

This is the way I feel about coarse and vulgar speech. And I think I have biblical basis for my feelings.

“Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion” (Proverbs 11:22).

These two terms in particular are not only coarse, they have strong sexual connotations. According to the Urban Dictionary*, screwed up ranks between messed up and ****ed up on the vulgarity scale, yet I’ve even heard church leaders use it—one while teaching a Bible study and the other while giving an announcement.

With a plethora of words in the English language at our disposal, why choose those with questionable pedigrees and potentially offensive overtones? There’s no good reason.

If you’d like to remove screwed up from your vocabulary, may I suggest a few of its synonyms: bobble, botch, bungle, confuse, flub, foul up, goof up, goof, louse, make a mess of, mess, mess up, mishandle, mismanage, muck up, muddle, muff, and spoil.


Ephesians 5:4 reminds us that as children of light, our thinking, conduct, and even our conversation should accurately represent our Lord. And somehow, I can’t picture Jesus telling Peter he screwed up. Or that going to the cross really sucks.

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving" (Eph. 5:4).


What do you think? I love to hear your thoughts when they’re shared respectfully. Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to leave a comment.


If you enjoyed this post, you might like "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

*Normally I link my sources, but this particular page, also containing a list of synonyms, was so offensive I didn’t want any of my readers going there.


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28 comments:

  1. I have some pretty unpopular opinions myself thanks for sharing yours. I need to think more before I speak.

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  2. I'm so right there with you, Lori! Thanks for taking a stand.

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  3. Although I have said some of these words, and should definitely rethink them, I have to point out that "snafu" has a questionable pedigree too. "situation normal, all f***ed up." This is Melissa from Maidservants of Christ. I can't seem to sign out of Helene's log in.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa, I was unaware of the background of "snafu." I've taken it off my list of suggested synonyms!

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  4. I agree. I think often some people don't even know or realize that certain words could be offensive. One of my pet peeve words is: "cr*p". I call that word the "c" word. Even though it isn't a curse word, it makes me cringe. I think that the best thing to do, though, is to be aware of our own language and hopefully, be a good example to those around us.

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    1. Great point, Joan. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  5. Definitely agree, Lori. I think a lot of it is peer pressure as well as laziness in speech. And thanks to Helene/Melissa for explaining "snafu."

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  6. Lori,

    Bollix is also a word that has very bad connotaions. If I am not mistaken Bollix is a synonym for the "f" word. I have never been to England but I have watched some British movies and this seems to be the case. I don't like "Muck up" either as although it is a great word it is too close to the other. :)

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    1. Just another example of how we need to weigh our words before we speak them, especially from country to country! Thanks for commenting today.

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    2. Bollix is actually bollocks, a word from Shakespeare's day, and even used by his more vulgar characters. It refers to testicles, so not really an edifying piece of vocab to use in general conversation. Modern common vernacular outside the UK just shorten it to 'balls' which is equally vulgar.

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    3. Thanks for the heads up. Bollix is officially OFF THE LIST!

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  7. However,we must consider that culturally people do not typically think about this phrase as sexual. The meaning has changed over time, as most language does.

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  8. These words and others like them bother me as well, but I do have to agree with Amanda that so much of it is cultural. I know Christians who were raised in a very different home than I was, and their speech reflects it. We are all works in progress, and some of us might be at a different point on that continuum than others. That said, I agree with the heart of your message. Our speech should and must reflect His presence in our lives - the world depends on it! :)

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  9. Hi Lori! I think it's great that you listed so many words that we could use instead of vulgar ones.

    My Mom used to say that people who swear are people without an adequate mastery of the English language. Love that!

    Peace in Christ,
    Ceil

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  10. I very much agree. I have been watching my mouth more lately. I try not to use words even like you said screw or crap. Our little ones are listening to us so closely and so is the Lord.

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  11. To be honest I curse like a sailor, except around children. Never heard that Proverbs verse before, kind of unflattering :(

    Thanks for the post, although the two you mentioned will probably remain in my vocabulary, at least for a while, I think I will work on the rest of my potty mouth!

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  12. I think you're right, Lori. I don't like the "suck" word and never use it but I've probably used "screwed up" not because I was thinking in terms of its course meaning but because I was thinking of "twisted" or dysfunctional. I suppose it isn't the best choice, though and I want to always be careful with the words I let come out of my mouth. Thanks for sharing your opinion here. I'm going to err on the side of caution and purity from now on and avoid them both, my friend!

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  13. I agree with you 100%. I cringe when I hear people at church using "Christian curse words". When my son was 6 he got onto kids and adults in his Sunday School class for using God's name in vain. They didn't even realize they were doing it!

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  14. Most terms have some sort of reference, even if from many generations prior. It drives me nuts when well meaning parents call their kids little buggers. To bigger, in English slang, means to f-word, although in recent generations, the vulgar use of the word has softened from adult langauge to teen slang.

    I once read a blog post that said we should avoid even substitute words. One of my favorited is fudge nuts and it replaces the d word or the f word, but is it ok, really? I also read a blog post that says words aren't sinful, only the heart and direction of them are. So to exclaim d--n it when hammering your thumb is ok, but saying d--n you is not.

    Let the Holy Spirit guide and convict each of us.

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    1. Kate,

      I think you've hit on an important point -- our heart attitude is certainly very important. Ignorance is certainly different than intentionally knowing that something is offensive and choosing to say it anyway. And even when we don't feel convicted about it, if it causes someone else to stumble, then we can choose to yield our "rights" in order to honor another.

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  15. I am reminded of this every time I hear my daughter use a questionable expression that I take for granted.

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  16. Well, I have to admit that I say "that sucks" on occasion which is my version of "that stinks." I don't think I say "screwed," though. At least, not that I'm aware of. I would say "he sure messed that up" instead. Of course, I can't promise that I've never said it.

    I have a few words that grate on me that others use and I won't use them. I don't like it when someone says "I am so p*ssed off." See? I can't even write it, lol!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party! :)

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  17. Totally agree with your opinion! (guess that makes me unpopular too. lol) One that I absolutely hate is people writing OMG and then acting like it isn't taking the Lord's name in vain. They say oh, I just meant "oh my gosh" or "oh my goodness" but I don't think those are the first things that come to mind when most people see those 3 letters. My older kiddos are already struggling with understanding why certain things aren't good to say, but yet most Christian's we know use them anyway! Such a hard subject to explain. Ok, I'll stop ranting now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! ~Tyra

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  18. I really like the verses behind your opinion. I do think we should try to extend some grace (which means trying not to remember all the times people messed up and used words we don't like). I say this because for years I didn't know there was any sexual connotation behind some of the words listed and I'd really hate to have used the word "Bollix" in Bible class and see someone blogging about it years later.

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    1. TMichelle,

      Yes, grace, always grace, because we're all in different stages of being changed. Oh, my, the things I did and said, and, sadly, the things I STILL do and say that make Him sad. But I'm thankful for those who have gently directed and encouraged me along the way. Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Thanks so much for being bold and sharing this. You did such a good job expressing your thoughts. Many years ago, when I was young, I think I used both of those words and my husband told me what they meant and asked me not to say them. Men often work primarily with men who are much cruder. It is easy for a stay-at-home mom to use these words without realizing what they mean because we are not 'in' the world as much. I remember when a mans used to 'catch' himself and not swear around women or at bet, apologize. Not anymore. Sometimes the women have worse tongues than the men!! A word I used to use was 'shoot' and although I think it means nothing it takes the place of another word that has the two 'oo's replaced by an 'i'. These words and words like them are second-hand-cuss-words and are really the same as if you were cursing. Instead of using that dirty curse word, or using God's name in vain , we replace that word with another word. They are just as wrong in my opinion.

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  20. Thank you for tackling this unpopular topic. Being far from the States and using my mother tongue far less than before (almost never, except with the kids), I am shocked at the things I used to say. Not that I ever really "swore" (I went through a very short phase of that...sadly) - but borderline...I'd add "freaking" in this list of words that we should exclude from our vocabulary.

    Honestly, its sad that as believers we want to have our own version of swearing. It's really not about the letters in the word, as much as what is in our heart when we say it. Is it? So, perhaps if we deal with our heart, we'll find we no longer need to use potty-words.

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  21. This makes me cringe too! In particular around vulgar teens listening to vulgar music while I have my innocent children with me and it is normal for them. Yet here's the thing. It had been normalised to me too!! Brought to my attention and worked on. Since becoming a believer I have gone through periods of using and not using. Some situations or circumstances I use a lot while others I don't at all through different seasons. I hope that I am now on the other more softer side of life now.. When you don't bring your unpopular opinion up and share it people are stuck in their old ways instead of being made into a new creation. I could still be swearing and cussing on a regular basis if it hasn't been for some people who spoke out and I would be shamed, judged and rejected by peers if I hadn't stopped. :-)

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