Your Mouth Needs More Than Soap

I watched a news video of an ugly event that happened at the beginning of August in Chicago. A white woman, flanked by 2 of her friends who are black, started hurling insults & profanity at a young black couple. She used the n-word repeatedly and then spit in the direction of the couple. This tirade was triggered by some misunderstanding over a bean-bag yard game and fueled by alcohol. I’m not going to post the video because it’s extremely offensive. Within the video, the black couple asks the 2 black friends of the white woman what is wrong with them. Why are they not rebuking (my word) their “friend”?

The black female friend tearfully tells the interviewer that she ended her friendship with the woman after this event, and that she is extremely hurt by the ordeal. She shares that they had been friends for multiple years. By her words and tears, I could tell she missed her friend as much as she was hurting over the woman’s hateful behavior. If the news story had stopped there, I would have no problem with the interview, other than the extreme grief & anger I felt over the blatant display of hate.

But here is what angered me even more. The interviewer asked the young black man who had been called n___, how he felt when a white person used that word. Understandably, he was shaken, said he felt demeaned and ashamed. Then the interviewer asked what the difference is when black people address each other by the same word. The young man still seemed uncomfortable, but explained it away as a cultural colloquialism (my word), kind of a black, “yo, what up bro” kind of greeting.

I absolutely hate this. Despite what George Carlin was fond of saying**, words DO have power…and meaning…and weight. I do not subscribe to the belief that if you appropriate a negative word and “own it” , it empowers you and lessens the sting of an insult. I hate to see women call themselves b____s, sl__’s or wh__’s.  If someone else will not respect you, please, have enough wisdom to respect yourself!

These are all issues of the heart. Jesus said “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45 New Living Translation.

People who habitually spew hate, anger, bitterness and strife have those sins within their heart. Please realize this is not a problem easily solved by wishing that everyone would just grow up and play nice. We need God’s help to be the people we all wish everyone else would become…but it starts with us first, as individuals:

“…but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” James 3:8-10 New Living Translation
It’s not right. The simple act of acknowledging our sin before God, confessing it and then asking for His mercy and forgiveness, sets the course for change that makes the light able to overcome the darkness. Your worth to God makes you far more valuable than any word attempting to devalue you.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
Praying that good fruit flows forth from you!
Children eating fruit

** George Carlin quote: “It’s a notion that they have and its superstitious. These words have no power. We give them this power by refusing to be free and easy with them. We give them great power over us. They really, in themselves, have no power. It’s the thrust of the sentence that makes them either good or bad.”

— George Carlin, Comedian and Actor George Carlin, NPR (2004)[4]

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